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RIP: Aubrey McClendon

5:01 PM EST on March 2, 2016

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Aubrey McClendon, beloved and reviled Oklahoma City corporate leader, wildcatter and philanthropist, died in a single car accident in far northeast Oklahoma City earlier today. He was 56.

McClendon was apparently traveling at a high speed when he drove his Chevy Tahoe straight into the wall of an overpass. According to OKCPD spokesman Paco Balderrama, "There was plenty of opportunity for him to correct and get back on the road but that did not happen."

KFOR's Lance West tweeted this pic from the accident, which was taken minutes after the crash:

The wreck occurred at about 9am, which is less than 24-hours after McClendon was indicted on federal conspiracy charges. In fact, I was writing an article about that indictment when news of his death first broke.

According to a Mole who is close to the investigation, the FEDs had a really, really strong case against McClendon. He was the only person indicted, which in conspiracy cases generally means the government had reached deals with other witnesses. Due to the high dollar value of the crime, I was told McClendon was likely facing a 5 - 10 year prison sentence along with large fines and restitution payments. Combine all that with the details of the wreck (High rate of speed, no skid marks, straight into the embankment) and... well... you're no fool. You know where everything points.

But I don't really want to focus on that. Regardless of how or why Aubrey died, it's just sad. His rise and fall would make Shakespeare proud. He'll go down as one of the most complicated, difficult to define characters in Oklahoma history.

On one hand, he was a brilliant business mind, philanthropist, and played a huge role in the Oklahoma City renaissance. Would the city be what it is today without Aubrey McClendon? I'm not sure. He didn't move his company to Houston once he had 20 employees. He stayed here and invested in this sleepy, depressing, boring city most of us call home. It's not hard to find someone around town who has a story to share about his kindness, compassion and generosity.

On the other hand...well... I don't like to talk bad about the dead, but let's just say Aubrey's positive traits were slowly washed away by the cold hard realities of greed. As Chesapeake continued to grow, he developed a reputation as the poster child for corporate greed, dishonesty and excess. His actions cost a lot of people, including himself, a lot of money and a lot of happiness.

Anyway, I guess we'll follow this story and report anything that we think needs to be reported. Our sincerest thoughts and sympathies go to his friends, family and colleagues as they deal with this tragedy. RIP.

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