Top Michigan health official charged in Flint water case
by Leigh Jones
Posted 6/14/17, 10:58 am
Michigan prosecutors filed involuntary manslaughter charges Wednesday against the state’s top health official over the water crisis in Flint. They accuse health department head Nick Lyon of failing to warn the public about an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease linked to the city’s decision to use water from the Flint River. The outbreak sickened 100 Flint-area residents and killed 12 people between 2014 and 2015. Lyon knew about the water’s bacteria problem but didn’t issue a public warning for almost a year. He claims he wanted to wait to sound the alarm until investigators in the state Health and Human Services Department finished their probe. The Legionnaires’ disease outbreak was part of the larger crisis caused when the city started using Flint River water in 2014. Officials didn’t treat the water for corrosive elements, and it caused lead to leach from old pipes. Lyon is one of 15 government officials charged in the Flint case. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
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Leigh is the news editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.