McClendon Police Probe Found No Direct Evidence of Suicide

(Bloomberg) - Investigators in Oklahoma City have found no direct evidence that Aubrey McClendon committed suicide when his car struck a wall March 2, a police department spokesman said.

The Chesapeake Energy Corp. co-founder’s 2013 Chevy Tahoe crashed the morning after a federal grand jury indicted him on bid-rigging charges. The investigation, which included interviews and reviews of e-mails and mobile phone records, concluded McClendon’s death was not a homicide, Captain Paco Balderrama said in a phone interview. The state medical examiner is still investigating.

“We can’t rule out suicide,” Balderrama said. “We found no evidence that points to suicide but we can’t be 100 percent certain. There’s no note, there’s no e-mail, there’s no conversation that said that he was going to do this.”

A final crash report in March showed that McClendon, 56, made no serious attempt to slow his SUV as it veered across the road and smashed into a concrete wall at 78 miles per hour, bursting into flames and killing him. The SUV crossed the road’s center line 189 feet before hitting the wall, maintaining a speed of 88 miles per hour even as he lightly tapped the brakes several times. It slowed upon impact, possibly because it hit softer ground after leaving the roadway, the police said.

Another person died at the same place two weeks ago, Balderrama said.

Medical Cause

Police are unable to rule out a medical cause, such as a seizure or stroke, or whether McClendon was distracted by texting as he approached the narrow underpass, Balderrama said.

“He was pretty proud of how much business he could conduct while he was driving,” Balderrama said. “Is it possible he was glancing down, went over, managed to hold the car together but wasn’t able to correct himself? All these things are possibilities. All we can say is that he wasn’t murdered.”

The latest police report won’t be released, he said. The medical examiner in March said McClendon died from wounds caused by multiple blunt force trauma. Results of a toxicology report have not yet been released. Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman in the medical examiner’s office, did not return an e-mail message sent after hours on Tuesday. 

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Polson in New York at jpolson@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at ldoan6@bloomberg.net Jim Efstathiou Jr., Anne Riley

Copyright 2016 Bloomberg News.

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