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Harris Co. DA announces new indictment for Arkema, VP of Logistics

This is not the first indictment for the chemical company. Arkema was also indicted in August of 2018.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — The Harris County District Attorney's Office on Wednesday announced new indictments against Arkema relating to the 2017 plant explosion.

The indictments by a Harris County grand jury are against the company and its Vice President of Logistics, Michael Keough, who has been charged with felony assault.

District Attorney Kim Ogg said Keough misrepresented the truth when he said there was real-time data on air quality at the time of the explosion. 

Ogg said it was, in fact, not real-time data.

Ogg said residents and deputies were in danger because of the miscommunication. She said two deputies drove straight into a toxic cloud of chemicals because they were misled.

"The facts show Arkema knew of the dangers, withheld vital information, and unleashed harm on first responders and the community," said Ogg. "This felony indictment is a wake-up call to companies that would pollute our air and waterways, ignore best practices in safety, and put or communities at risk."

The toxic cloud was captured on the deputies' dash camera footage. Deputies and EMT personnel exposed to the toxins were ordered to report to San Jacinto Methodist Hospital for decontamination.

The felony assault charges carry a punishment of two to 10 years as a third degree felony, the D.A.'s Office said.

This is not the first indictment for the chemical company. Arkema was also indicted in August 2018.

The company, its CEO Richard Rowe, and plant manager Leslie Comardelle, were named in that indictment.

A grand jury concluded they were responsible for the release of the toxic cloud over the Crosby community during Hurricane Harvey.