HARRIS COUNTY (Covering Katy News) – Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Wednesday that a grand jury indicted Arkema and one of its executives for the felony offense of causing bodily injury to two sheriffs deputies by withholding critical information needed by first responders to protect themselves and the community from chemicals released from Arkema’s Crosby Plant.
“The facts show Arkema knew of the dangers, withheld vital information, and unleashed harm on first responders and the community,” Ogg said. “This felony indictment is a wake-up call to companies that would pollute our air and waterways, ignore best practices in safety, and put our communities at risk.”
According to the indictment handed up by the Grand Jury, Arkema and Mike Keough, the company’s vice president of logistics, misrepresented the danger faced by the community outside their gates, leading to the injury of two deputies.
Arkema told emergency personnel the company was keeping track of its chemicals with off-site, real-time monitoring and would notify emergency personnel before they would be at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals from its Plant. The evidence shows that while reassuring emergency personnel several of the chemical containers were completely unmonitored.
A toxic cloud was captured on dash-cam video by deputies on the scene, and deputies and EMT personnel exposed to the toxins were ordered to report to San Jacinto Methodist Hospital for decontamination.
The Felony Assault charges announced Wednesday carry a punishment of 2-10 years as a third degree felony.