AP

Company charged in deadly 2017 Wisconsin plant explosion

May 13, 2022, 8:28 AM | Updated: 9:12 am

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal grand jury has charged a milling company with fraud and conspiracy in connection with an explosion at a Wisconsin corn plant that killed five workers in 2017, the Justice Department announced Friday.

The grand jury returned an indictment earlier this week against Didion Milling Inc. and company leaders, court records indicate. The indictment alleges that between March 2013 and February 2018, the company failed to keep up with cleanings at the Cambria plant as required by federal regulations and falsified records to make it look as if the cleanings were completed.

The indictment, which alleges that Didion’s safety violations caused the five employees’ deaths, goes on to say that dust filters in the plant weren’t properly ventilated. The indictment seeks all of the profits Didion has made off of the alleged conspiracy.

Didion officials issued a statement saying the explosion was an accident and that they were disappointed that the federal government decided to pursue “unwarranted charges.”

“What happened on May 31, five years ago was a horrible accident, not a criminal act,” the statement said. “While we have cooperated fully with the investigation since day one, we now must respond with a strong, vigorous defense for the company and our team.”

The explosion May 31, 2017, leveled most of the sprawling facility about 45 miles (72 kilometers) northeast of Madison. Killed in the blast were Didion employees Duelle Block, Robert Goodenow, Carlos “Charly” Nunez, Angel Reyes and Pawel Tordoff. Fifteen more people were injured.

Federal inspectors have said an accumulation of grain dust likely caused the explosion. Corn dust is combustible; if concentrations in the air reach a high level a spark or other ignition source can cause it to catch fire and explode. Federal regulations require grain mill operators to perform regular cleanings to reduce dust accumulations that could fuel a blast.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Didion more than $1.8 million in connection with the explosion in the months following the explosion.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

southern Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly...

Associated Press

Trial of a southern Arizona rancher charged in fatal shooting of unarmed migrant goes to the jury

Closing arguments were made against a southern Arizona rancher accused of shooting an undocumented migrant on his land to death on Thursday.

4 hours ago

Donald Trump's hush money trial: 12 jurors selected...

Associated Press

Although 12 jurors were picked for Donald Trump’s hush money trial, selection of alternates is ongoing

A jury of 12 people was seated Thursday in former President Donald Trump's hush money trial. The proceedings are close to opening statements.

6 hours ago

A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

1 day ago

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

3 days ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

3 days ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Company charged in deadly 2017 Wisconsin plant explosion