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Police: McClendon hit support at 78 mph, didn’t try to turn

Posted at 3:32 PM, Mar 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-14 15:32:25-04

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City police say Chesapeake Energy founder Aubrey McClendon was driving 78 mph when his SUV hit a bridge support and that there is no evidence suggesting he tried to veer away to avoid the fatal crash.

McClendon died March 2, a day after a federal grand jury indicted him on a bid-rigging charge. The part-owner of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder had vowed to fight the accusation.

Police said Monday that McClendon’s vehicle’s data recorder shows that he had been driving 88 mph and tapped his brakes, but not in the 31 feet before impact. Investigators found tire tracks but no skid marks.

Police are checking his cellphone records to determine if he was on the phone.

Investigators wouldn’t comment when asked if they believe McClendon intended to crash.

The indictment claims that McClendon orchestrated a conspiracy between two large oil and gas companies to not bid against each other for oil and natural gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.

The conspiracy allegedly ran from December 2007 to March 2012, during which time he was CEO of Chesapeake Energy.

In Michigan, Chesapeake paid a $25 million fine to the state in 2015 to settle allegations of conspiring with a Canadian company to rig auctions for drilling rights. Chesapeake also pleaded “no contest” to two misdemeanor criminal antitrust violations in Michigan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report