Top ranking Michigan official ordered to go to trial over Flint water crisis

Nick Lyon will stand trial for involuntary manslaughter after a Legionnaires' disease outbreak reportedly killed 12 and sickened close to 90 people in 2014 and 2015.

Image Credit: Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP

An investigation into the Flint, Michigan water crisis pins the state’s Department of Health and Human Services director, Nick Lyon, for involuntary manslaughter after a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak reportedly killed 12 and sickened close to 90 people in 2014 and 2015. Judge David Goggins ordered Lyon stand trial for the deaths of two of the 12 victims. He is also being charged with misconduct in office.

The investigation is ongoing and looks at what happened when the Flint River was used for drinking water in Flint for 18 months in 2014 and 2015. According to the Associated Press, the water was corrosive from leached lead from pipes, which ended up in the water supply and was never treated. Two studies also concluded that the use of the corrosive water led to a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

The prosecution alleged Lyon was aware of the disease outbreak a year prior to when he informed Michigan’s governor.

“I find this behavior over this time period of withholding information corrupt based upon misconduct in office for probable cause standards,” Goggins said, The Detroit News reported.

Lyon, the highest-ranking official to be charged, is one of 15 other local or state officials accused of knowing about the Legionnaires’ outbreak and/or the lead contamination, EcoWatch reported. Four officials have accepted plea deals, while the remaining cases are still open.

Lyon’s case will now go to trial in the Genesee Circuit Court, EcoWatch reported.

“It’s a long way from over,” Lyon said, The Associated Press reported.


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