A federal grand jury in Midland indicted a Texas-based oilfield company and its vice president on multiple charges related to the poisonous gas deaths of a worker and his wife.
Husband and Wife Die After Inhaling Corrosive Gas at Odessa Pump House
According to NBC News, Jacob Dean, an employee of Aghorn Operating Inc., was dispatched by his employer to check on a pump house in Odessa, Texas on October 26, 2019.
When Jacob failed to return home, his wife Natalee Dean attempted to contact him. After Jacob failed to answer, Natalee gathered her two children, ages 6 and 9, and drove to the pump house.
As Natalee approached the facility, she was overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas – a colorless, highly corrosive gas. She died at the scene. Jacob was also found dead at the facility, having also inhaled hydrogen sulfide gas.
The Dean’s two children remained in the car and were not harmed.
Jury Indicts Aghorn Operating Inc. and Aghorn Executive in Gas Deaths
On Tuesday, March 8, the United States Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury in Midland, Texas indicted Aghorn Operating Inc. and Aghorn Vice President Trent Day for worker safety and environment crimes.
Among the charges faced by Aghorn and Day are:
- Violating of federal clean air laws
- Obstructing a federal job safety investigation
- Violating federal safety water laws
- Making false statements on forms documenting the mechanical integrity of Aghorn’s injection wells
- Multiple job safety crimes causing death
If convicted, a federal district court judge will determine Aghorn’s and Day’s sentences based on U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. It is unclear what penalties, fines, and jail time that sentencing could include.
Contact an Experienced Texas Workplace Injury Attorney
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Employees have a right to a reasonably safe workplace. Even in dangerous industries like oil and gas extraction, employers are expected to take reasonable actions and preventive measures to reduce the risk of injury and death. When employers fail to take appropriate action, they can be found negligent under civil law.
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