This post was last updated at 4:30pm EST to include additonal details about the death of Aubrey McClendon.
Aubrey McClendon, former CEO of Chesapeake Energy (CHK) died in a car crash Wednesday, one day after he was indicted by the Department of Justice on bid-rigging charges. He was 56 years old.
According Captain Paco Balderrama of the Oklahoma City Police Department, McClendon drove into a wall and speed played a factor in his death.
"He pretty much drove straight into the wall," Balderrama said adding that there was "plenty of opportunity for him to correct or get back onto the roadway and that didn't occur."
Balderrama said it will take investigators one to two weeks to completely finish the investigation into the circumstances surrounding McClendon's death and that a medical examiner will make the final determination about the cause of death.
In an interview with CNBC after the news broke, Jim Cramer described McClendon as "larger than life."
Chesapeake Energy released a statement, saying that the company is "deeply saddened by the news" and "our thoughts and prayers are with the McClendon family during this difficult time."
American Energy Partners, which McClendon founded in 2013 after leaving Chesapeake where he served as chairman and CEO, issued the following statement:
"It is with deep sadness that AELP confirms that earlier today, its founder, Aubrey K. McClendon died in a car accident on Midwest Boulevard in Oklahoma City. Aubrey's tremendous leadership, vision, and passion for the energy industry had an impact on the community, the country, and the world. We are tremendously proud of his legacy and will continue to work hard to live up to the unmatched standards he set for excellence and integrity. We will deeply mourn his loss and please join us in expressing our condolences to his family."
Tuesday's indictment, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, alleged that McClendon orchestrated a bid rigging conspiracy between two large oil and gas companies, which ran from December 2007 to March 2012. The alleged conspirators agreed not to bid against each other for the purchase of oil and gas leases in northwest Oklahoma.
In a statement released on Tuesday, McClendon called the charges filed against him "wrong and unprecedented."
"All my life I have worked to create jobs in Oklahoma, grow its economy, and to provide abundant and affordable energy to all Americans. I am proud of my track record in this industry, and I will fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name," McClendon said in Tuesday's statement.
The case brought against McClendon was the first coming from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other "anticompetitive conduct" in the oil and gas industry, the statement said. Each violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals.
In an emailed statement, the Antitrust Divison of the Justice Department said it was " saddened to hear about the death of Aubrey McClendon. We offer our condolences to his family and loved ones."
In 2012, Reuters investigated similar charges involving Chesapeake Energy and Canadian-based Encana's (ECA) efforts to suppress land-prices in Michigan in 2010. Both Chesapeake Energy and Encana settled with the state: Encana paid $5 million in 2014 and Chesapeake Energy paid $25 million in 2015.
The Michigan investigation was closed, but subsequent evidence was found of alleged bid-rigging in Oklahoma, Reuters reported.
On Tuesday, Chesapeake Energy said it did not expect to face criminal prosecution or fines relating to the matter and that it had taken "significant steps" to address legacy issues.
"Chesapeake has been actively cooperating for some time with a criminal antitrust investigation by the Department of Justice regarding past land leasing practices and has received conditional leniency under the Antitrust Division's Leniency Program," Gordon Pennoyer, a spokesperson for Chesapeake Energy said in an emailed statement.
Billionaire-activist investor Carl Icahn, who has an 11% stake in Chesapeake, wrote the following tweets on Twitter after learning of McClendon's death.
1/2 Aubrey McClendon was one of the brightest men I've ever dealt with. I personally always found him to be a gentleman in our interactions.¿ Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) March 2, 2016
2/2 I am saddened to have heard the news.¿ Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) March 2, 2016