Flint mother testifies against 4 state officials in water crisis hearing

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FLINT (WJRT) (1/10/2018) - A Flint mother who showed a container of orange tap water to a state official during the water crisis took the witness stand Wednesday in a Flint courtroom.

Lee Anne Walters testified about how she turned on her tap and found orange water. She tried to give a container of the discolored water to Michael Prysby, but he refused to accept it and claimed it was fake.

Walters also testified about how her family got rashes and suffered other health effects from the water in the second half of 2014 -- months after Flint's drinking water source was switched to the Flint River in April of that year.

Prysby, the District 8 water engineer for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is one of four people in court this week for a preliminary hearing to decide whether they should stand trial on charges related to the water crisis.

Prysby and Steven Busch, the District 8 water supervisor, are each facing four felony and two misdemeanor charges, including involuntary manslaughter.

Patrick Cook, a specialist in the DEQ's community drinking water unit, is facing two felonies and one misdemeanor charge. Liane Shekter-Smith, the former chief of drinking water and municipal assistance, is facing two felonies and one misdemeanor charge, including involuntary manslaughter.

All four defendants are accused of failing to do their jobs in providing safe drinking water for Flint residents and businesses.

Prosecutors expect to call 24 witnesses during the preliminary hearing. After the hearing, a judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to force all four defendants to stand trial.

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