Energy entrepreneur and Oklahoma City Thunder part owner Aubrey McClendon died on Wednesday in a single-car wreck.
The Justice Department indicted the Thunder minority owner on Tuesday. On Wednesday, McClendon died instantly after crashing his car into a wall in Oklahoma City at a rate of speed in excess of the posted 40 mile-per-hour limit.
“He pretty much drove straight into the wall,” Oklahoma City Police Captain Paco Balderrama told the Daily Oklahoman. “There was plenty of opportunity to correct or go back to the roadway. That didn’t occur.”
The feds charged the 56-year-old McClendon with violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in an alleged scheme to rig bids on oil-drilling ventures. The indictment charged that McClendon “orchestrated a conspiracy between two large oil and gas companies to not bid against each other for the purchase of certain oil and natural gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.”
McClendon aggressively maintained his innocence. “Anyone who knows me, my business record and the industry in which I have worked for 35 years, knows that I could not be guilty of violating any antitrust laws,” the man instrumental in moving the Supersonics to Oklahoma City held. “All my life I have worked to create jobs in Oklahoma, grow its economy, and to provide abundant and affordable energy to all Americans. I am proud of my track record in this industry, and I will fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name.”
The tragedy comes less than a month after another loss on the roads for the franchise. Ingrid Williams, wife of Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams, died on February 10 after her involvement in an automobile accident the previous night.