Professor: Flint River a recipe for Legionnaires'

- A Wayne State Professor who was hired to research the Legionella outbreak in Genessee County testified that the conditions of the river for a recipe for the bacteria.

Wayne State University Civil engineering professor Shawn McElmurry testified Wednesday at a court hearing for Nick Lyon, the Michigan health director who is charged with involuntary manslaughter and other crimes in the Flint water crisis.

"Trying to impress upon Nick the importance of enhanced surveillance," McElmurry said. 

McElmurry was hired by the state to look into the Legionnaires outbreak in Flint. He said during various stages of his research he let Lyon and other officials know about issues involving Flint water but often got resistance. Lyon is accused of waiting too long to tell the public about a Legionnaires' outbreak during that time. He faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office for his response to the outbreak of Legionnaires disease. 

"Dr. Kilgore impressed upon him the decisions Nick was making or not making could cause people to die," McElmurry said.

McElmurry said to that, Lyons said "I can't save everyone".

During Friday's court appearance, resistance was a resounding theme throughout the professor's testimony.

"From our perspective it did not appear Michigan Department of Health and Human Services was changing their behavior or going to be monitoring Legionnaires Disease on a level we felt was important to do, " he said.

McElmurry testified for several hours and primarily focused on Lyon. 

"He always said he needed to find balance with what we found. He did not not want to upset public."

At times Lyon's attorneys objected and wanted to strike statements from the record. They also worked to point out flaws with the professor's expert testimony 

Judge David Goggins will decide whether there is probable cause to show that Lyon did indeed commit criminal activity.  If the judge finds evidence, Lyon's case will move forward to circuit court.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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