The deaths of a Texas couple whose bodies were found at a worksite where their children were waiting in the car have led to the indictment of an oilfield company and one of its executives.
Jacob Dean, 44, and Natalee Dean, 37, were overcome on Oct. 26, 2019, by hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas, at a facility of Aghorn Operating in Odessa.
Jacob Dean, an Aghorn employee, had gone to check on a pump house after getting a call that night. When he didn’t return or answer his phone, his wife took their two children and went to find him.
Emergency responders were sent to the site after Jacob Dean failed to check in with his supervisor about the trouble call. Both adults were found dead at the scene.
The children, 6 and 9, had remained in the car and were only slightly exposed to the gas. The Deans are also survived by Jacob’s older daughter, who was 18 at the time of the deaths.
An indictment announced Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Midland, Texas, accused Aghorn and its vice president Trent Day of violating the Clean Air Act relating to releases of hydrogen sulfide as well as obstructing an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation into the deaths.
It was determined that a pump had failed, causing a leak of water containing hydrogen sulfide.
The indictment stated that Aghorn and Trent Day allegedly “knowingly violated their general duty to prevent the accidental release” of hydrogen sulfide and also knowingly “placed another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.”
In addition, Aghorn and Day, along with Kodiak Roustabout Inc., were charged with violating the Safe Drinking Water Act and making false statements regarding the mechanical integrity of Aghorn injection wells.