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Oklahoma City Part-Owner Aubrey McClendon Dead in Single-Car Accident

Aubrey McClendon, a key figure in Oklahoma City's acquisition of the Thunder, passed away one day after being indicted by the US Department of Justice.

Brett Deering/Getty Images

Aubrey McClendon, an Oklahoma energy executive, passed away Wednesday in a single-car accident. On Monday, he had been indicted by the US Department of Justice on violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The DOJ alleged that he was involved in a conspiracy to "rig" bidding processes with an unidentified competitor in order to keep prices of drilling rights artificially low. If he had been found guilty, the DOJ could have requested a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, plus a $1 million fine for each violation. Later in the day, he made a statement denying the charges, calling them "wrong and unprecedented".

McClendon had been traveling at "a high rate of speed", according to Oklahoma City Police Capt. Paco Balderrama. His vehicle crashed into a bridge embankment. There were no signs of skid marks. Balderrama added, "He pretty much drove straight into the wall".

McClendon is perhaps best known to NBA observers as a part-owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and a key minority investor who helped fund the Seattle Supersonics' exit from Washington. He infamously said his investment team "didn't buy the Seattle Supersonics to keep them in Seattle," while the NBA publicly claimed to be trying to keep the team in the Pacific Northwest.