Two top Michigan health officials werecriminally charged on Wednesday for their roles in the handling of the Flint water crisis.
Michigan Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon has been charged with involuntary manslaughter stemming from his role in the handling of the crisis.
The state’s Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells was charged with obstruction of justice and lying to police.
Charges against Wells and Lyon stem from a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the Flint area that led to 12 deaths after the city switched its water source to the Flint River from Lake Huron in April 2014.
According to court documents filed on Tuesday,”Defendant Lyon exhibited gross negligence when he failed to alert the public about the deadly outbreak and by taking steps to suppress information illustrating obvious and apparent harms that were likely to result in serious injury. Defendant Lyon willfully disregarded the deadly nature of the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak.”
At least one person died as a result of Lyon’s negligence, Detroit News reported.
A spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette could not be reached immediately for comment.
Schuette is scheduled to brief reporters later on Wednesday morning. A spokesman for Gov.Rick Snyder did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Thirteen current and former state and local officials received charges in December for their involvement in the crisis. Snyder was not among them.
At that time AG Schuette called Flint “a casualty of arrogance, disdain and failure of management, an absence of accountability.”
“It’s all about numbers over people, money over health,” Schuette said.
Reuters material contributed to this report.