Feb. 11 was the day tragedy struck the Oklahoma City Thunder organization and assistant coach Monty Williams, who lost his wife, Ingrid, in a head-on crash caused by a car that crossed over the center lane. Less than three weeks later, that reality was lived once again, this time with the death of Thunder part-owner Aubrey McClendon.
Less than a day prior to the single-car accident, which occurred in Oklahoma City, McClendon– who owned approximately 20% of the Thunder– played a crucial role in relocating the team to Oklahoma City from Seattle in 2008. He was recently indicted by the Department of Justice on charges of conspiring to rig bids for the future acquisition of oil and natural gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.
A police news conference held after the crash confirmed that McClendon’s 2013 Chevy Tahoe was traveling significantly above the speed limit. Oklahoma City Police Capt. Paco Balderrama said McClendon, who was not wearing a seatbelt, died upon impact, striking a concrete pillar before the truck burst into flames.
Police Sgt. Ashley Peters added that a probe of the crash could possibly take up to two weeks, while the medical examiner’s office said an autopsy investigation could take up to three months.
In a statement released Wednesday, Clay Bennett, who led the effort in moving the franchise to Oklahoma City and majority owner of the team, applauded the efforts made by McClendon during his time with the organization. “His love of his community and his desire to make Oklahoma a better place will forever inspire all of us,” Bennett stated, while adding that he was “overcome with grief” following the announcement of McClendon’s death.
Aubrey McClendon was survived by his wife, Kathleen, and their three kids, Jack, Callie, and Will.
He was 56.
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