Associated Press Published

Gary Southern Pleads Guilty in Federal Court


The last of six company officials charged in a chemical spill that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 people in West Virginia has pleaded guilty to pollution charges.

Former Freedom Industries President Gary Southern pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday in Charleston and could face up to three years in prison.

In January 2014, a Freedom tank leaked coal-cleaning chemicals into the water, spurring a ban on tap water for up to 10 days.

Southern appeared unsympathetic when he spoke to the public a day after the spill, telling them reporters he had had a “long day.” He tried to leave a news conference multiple times.

Southern pleaded guilty to three federal pollution charges.

The bankrupt company and five ex-officials have already pleaded guilty to pollution charges.