Health Care

Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Filed in Flint Case

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today filed new, more serious charges in the Flint Water Crisis investigation, but also said the case is shifting to a new phase.

Nick Lyon, director of Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct, both felonies.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, who described the latest charges as "an important step on a very long journey", said he was disappointed Snyder responded by defending staff, rather than showing concern for the people of Flint.

Chip Chamberlain and Larry Willey are representing Lyon and called the charges "baseless".

The charges stem from an investigation led by Michigan's attorney general.

The charges most likely stem from 12 deaths linked to Legionnaires' disease, which is caused by bacteria that can be harbored in mismanaged water systems and that are particularly risky in large buildings.

"Multiple Flint-area residents died of Legionnaires' disease in the time immediately following the switch from Detroit Water and Sewer Department to the Flint River".

The others now slapped with involuntary manslaughter charges are former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley; former City of Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft; Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith; and Water Supervisor Stephen Busch. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there were about 6,000 cases of Legionnaires' disease in the 2015 with about 10 percent of cases leading to death.

Snyder added, "Director Lyon and Dr. Wells have been and continue to be instrumental in Flint's recovery".

Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette had stronger words for Lyon, however. They have my full faith and confidence, and will remain on duty at DHHS.

In an effort to save money, Flint begins drawing water from the Flint River for its 100,000 residents, instead of relying on water from Detroit. "A threat that cost of the life of Robert Skidmore". The toxic metal was leaching from city pipes due to the river water's corrosive qualities. He was admitted to McClaren Flint hospital in June 2015 with symptoms consistent with pneumonia.

Lyon, 49, of Marshall, Mich., is accused of causing the death of Robert Skidmore on December 13, 2015, by failing to alert the public about a foreseeable outbreak of Legionnaires' disease.

He told state lawmakers that experts likely wanted to "solve the problem" before they raised it with senior officials in the Snyder administration.

Schuette said his team had not spoken with Snyder as part of the investigation. Lyon is also accused of misconduct in office, for allegedly instructing an official to halt an analysis that would have helped to determine the cause of the outbreak.

Flint resident Jerry Adkisson (2nd R) and his children Jayden (L), Austin and Amiya carry bottled water they picked up from a fire station in Flint, Michigan February 7, 2016.

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