Wells awaits trial fate in Flint involuntary manslaughter case

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News
Dr. Eden Wells

State Medical Executive Eden Wells will learn on Dec. 7 whether she will face trial for involuntary manslaughter and other charges related to a 2014-15 outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the Flint area.

The case has been awaiting a ruling by 67th District Court Judge William Crawford since the summer. The hearings lasted 10 months and was brought by special prosecutors hired by outgoing Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Wells, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter related to the death of John Snyder, who prosecutors say died of Legionnaires' disease in 2015 while the city was drawing its water from the Flint River.

Special prosecutors argued that Wells should be bound over for trial because she "failed to prevent the danger" of the Legionnaires' outbreak, which killed 12 and sickened at least 79 others in the Flint area.

Prosecutors have linked the outbreak to the Flint lead-contaminated water crisis, while defense attorneys have said many Legionnaires' cases could be traced to the water at a Flint hospital.

Wells could not be reached for comment.

Her attorney, Steven Trammontin, declined to comment on how Wells is doing or the upcoming ruling by Crawford.

"We've been resigned not to comment on the pending case," Trammontin said. "Certainly with the judge weighing the decision, I don't think that's a good idea for our interests."

If Crawford sends Wells to face trial, it would be the second case to be bound over in criminal court.

In August, state Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon was bound over for trial. District Judge David Goggins ruled that Lyon was "corrupt" in his handling of the Flint area Legionnaires' disease outbreak and will stand trial on felony charges including involuntary manslaughter. 

Wells is also facing charges of lying to a special police agent and obstruction of justice regarding the Legionnaires’ outbreak.


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