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Michigan Health Chief Charged With Manslaughter In Flint Water Crisis

The head of Michigan's health department is accused of not warning residents about a potential outbreak of the deadly Legionnaires' disease.
Posted at 3:11 PM, Jun 14, 2017

The head of Michigan's health department became the latest and the highest-ranking official to face felony charges in the Flint water crisis Wednesday. 

Michigan's attorney general charged Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct for allegedly not alerting the public to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that led to 12 deaths. 

State investigators previously named Lyon as a "target" of the Flint water investigation

According to the attorney general's office, Lyon is one of five people charged with manslaughter related to the 2015 death of Robert Skidmore. 

The state attorney general also charged Michigan Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells with obstruction of justice for lying to a police officer. 

Legionnaires' is a type of pneumonia people get from inhaling contaminated water droplets

More than 80 cases of Legionnaires' were reported in the Flint area since 2014, when the city switched the water supply to the Flint River. 

Lead from from old pipes made its way into the water system after officials failed to treat Flint River water to reduce corrosion. Nearly 100,000 Flint residents were potentially exposed to contaminated water, which dramatically changed the lives of those affected. 

"It hurts to be alive. Live with us for a week; shower where we shower. Live through the bottled water; the crinkling, awful sound of bottled water; and the caps everywhere. See what it's like to actually live there," Flint resident and activist Melissa Mays said.

Lyon could face a 15-year sentence if he's found guilty on the involuntary manslaughter charge. So far, Michigan's attorney general has filed criminal charges against 15 people related to the Flint water crisis.