Family of Legionnaires' victim reacts criminal charges dismissed in Flint water cases

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FLINT (WJRT) (06/13/2019) - John Phillip Snyder's family hopes the fresh criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis yields more justice than the cases dropped against eight defendants.

Snyder died of Legionnaires' disease in June 2015, according to doctors. Medical experts believe he contracted the disease as a result of the Flint water crisis.

The Michigan Attorney General's Office dismissed all charges against the eight remaining defendants on Thursday, include involuntary manslaughter charges against former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon and former Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells.

Snyder's daughter, Mary-Anne Tribble, said the family was "kind of prepared" and not very surprised to see the charges dropped. She got an update on the cases from the Attorney General's Office about a month ago.

Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy issued a statement claiming that all available evidence was not pursued.

Tribble thinks the prosecution team's decision to start fresh after the discovery of new evidence is a good idea.

"Six weeks wasn't enough time to go through all the information they discovered, and they keep discovering more information," she said.

The new prosecution team says its taken millions of documents and hundreds of new electronic devices into its possession this week.

"I think it's going to benefit, at least getting to the bottom of it all, getting all the information's going to help people," Tribble said.

In 2017, the Attorney General's Office said 12 people died of Legionnaires' disease, a form of pneumonia they said resulted from the Flint's switch to drawing drinking water from the Flint River.

Those deaths prompted six involuntary manslaughter charges.

Wells' charge was linked to John Phillip Snyder's death in 2015.

Tribble testified at one of the court hearings about how active her dad had been.

"We were planning, actually -- before he became ill, we were planning a trip on one of the Viking Cruises to go to the Netherlands," she said.

Instead, she said her dad died of legionella pneumonia after visiting the emergency room at McLaren-Flint hospital for a shoulder injury. The hospital was using water from the Flint River.

Snyder was 84 when he died.

Tribble hopes the extra time will bring about results for all of the families affected by deaths from Legionnaires' disease.

"As long as there's a result that benefits them or has some kind of closure for everybody that's been hurt by it because there's been so many," Tribble said.

Since the criminal cases were dismissed without prejudice, the prosecution team can bring back the same charges or add additional charges.



 
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