Flint water crisis: Michigan medical officer charged with manslaughter

Volunteers distribute cases of water at City Hall in Flint, Mich., on March 12, 2016. On Monday, Michigan's chief medical officer was charged with involuntary manslaughter for her role in the death of a man who had Legionnaires' disease related to the water crisis. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI

Oct. 10 (UPI) — Michigan’s chief medical officer faces two new felony charges — including involuntary manslaughter — that were filed Monday for her role in Flint’s water crisis.

Special prosecutor Todd Flood also filed a felony misconduct in office charge against Dr. Eden Wells due to “some revelations” during testimony in last week’s hearing of Michigan Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon. Lyon faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and obstruction of justice.

“I really can’t get into the details of it, but I think we’d be derelict if we didn’t charge her,” Flood told reporters. “Based on new review of other documents testimony that came out last week, we believe that discovery put us in this place.”

Prosecutors previously charged Wells with felony obstruction of justice and lying to a peace officer, a misdemeanor. She faces up to 5 years in prison for the obstruction charge.

Wells’ new manslaughter charge is for the death of Robert Skidmore, 85, who died of Legionnaires’ disease. Five other current and former Flint and Michigan officials also have been charged for failing to prevent his death.

At least 12 people died of the disease after city officials switched Flint’s water supply in April 2014 from treated Lake Huron water to raw water from the Flint River, treated at the Flint Water Treatment Plant.

The untreated, corrosive water caused lead to leech from the city’s water pipes, poisoning thousands of Flint residents over a period of 17 months.

Michigan plans to spend $87 million to replace 18,000 contaminated water pipes in Flint by January 2020.


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