A judge has ordered that Michigan’s health director, Nick Lyon, stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges in the deaths of two men linked to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area. Lyon is accused of failing to issue a timely alert about the outbreak. Some experts have blamed Legionnaires’ on Flint’s water, which wasn’t properly treated when it was drawn from the Flint River in 2014 and 2015.
Nick Lyon’s defense team is planning to appeal the judge’s decision. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director is charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of Robert Skidmore and John Snyder, who both allegedly died of Legionnaires’ disease in 2015.
Lyon, the highest-ranking official to face criminal charges in connection with Flint’s tainted water scandal, said the situation is “a long way from over.” He declined to comment further. He also faces one count of misconduct in office.
Experts have stated the deaths of Robert Skidmore, 85, and John Snyder, 83, from Legionnaires’ disease were a direct result of having drunk contaminated water. In 2014, the city chose to tap water from the Flint River instead of getting it from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to save money. The water had not been properly treated to reduce corrosion and began leaching lead from the water pipes, contaminating the supply.