Five people were sentenced in relation to the 2014 water crisis in Flint, Michigan Wednesday, the highest ranking of which was Nick Lyon, head of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services.
Lyon received involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of an 85-year-old man from Legionnaire’s disease, after he failed to report that there was a high risk for the disease in the Flint area caused by the contaminated water.
Legionnaire’s, a type of pneumonia, is caused by a type of bacteria that thrives in warm water and infects the lungs. People get sick by inhaling mist or vapor from cooling systems.
Almost 100 cases of the sickness, along with 14 deaths, were reported in Flint in 2014-15.
“The health crisis in Flint has created a trust crisis for Michigan government, exposing a serious lack of confidence in leaders who accept responsibility and solve problems,” Attorney General Bill Schuette told reporters.
Schuette and Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton are responsible for the criminal investigation of the entire Flint crisis, and pushed involuntary manslaughter based on the death of Robert Skidmore, 85, in 2015.
Others facing charges include: Darnell Earley, who was Flint’s emergency manager when the city used the river; Howard Croft, who ran Flint’s public works department; Liane Shekter Smith; and Stephen Busch. Shekter Smith and Busch were state environmental regulators.
Lyon is also facing misconduct charges for impeding the study of the contaminated water by university students.
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