State health director faces manslaughter in Flint deaths

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A judge Monday ordered Michigan’s health director to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in two deaths linked to Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area, the highest-ranking official to face criminal charges as a result of the city’s tainted water scandal.

Nick Lyon is accused of failing to issue a timely alert about the outbreak. District Court Judge David Goggins said deaths likely could have been prevented if the outbreak had been publicly known. He said keeping the public in the dark was “corrupt.”

Goggins found probable cause for a trial in Genesee County court, a legal standard that isn’t as high as beyond a reasonable doubt. Lyon also faces a charge of misconduct in office.

“It’s a long way from over,” Lyon told The Associated Press.

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.

COMMENTS