MI health chief Nick Lyon heading to trial on manslaughter charges in Flint water crisis case

MI health chief Nick Lyon heading to trial on manslaughter charges in Flint water crisis case
Posted at 4:14 PM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-20 16:51:32-04

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon will stand trial in a case tied to the Flint Water Crisis.

A judge bound Lyon over on two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of misconduct in office.

Judge David Goggins found probable cause that Lyon failed to perform his duties to protect the public and that he failed to notify the public in a timely basis.

According to Office of Special Counsel's investigator's report for Lyon, Lyon became aware of the Legionnaires' Disease outbreak on Jan. 28, 2015, but didn't inform the public until nearly a year later.

“Mr. Lyon failed in his responsibilities to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Flint," Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said at a press conference announcing the charges in June 2017.

"After allegedly being informed of the growing legionella situation in Flint, Nick Lyon failed to inform the public of this health threat," Schuette said. "A threat that cost the life of Robert Skidmore, (who) died in December 2015 of Legionnaire’s disease.”

The report states that Lyon met with Shawn McElmurry, an associate professor of civil engineering at Wayne State University, in the summer of 2016.

McElmurry was hired in January 2016 to put together the Flint Area Community and Environmental Partnership to research whether Flint's switch to the river water caused the Legionnaire's outbreak.

The meeting in the summer included McElmurry, Lyon, Dr. Paul Kilgore and Gov. Snyder's senior advisor. It was about the increased surveillance of the Legionnaires' Disease outbreak since they hadn't figured out the source of the outbreak.

According to the investigator's report, Lyon said they couldn't afford more surveillance. After Kilgore told Lyon that decision could cause more people to die, Lyon allegedly responded that he "couldn't save everyone," and "they have to die of something," the report said.