Mine Security Chief Faces Third Charge

Thursday, May 19, 2011 @ 02:05 PM gHale

Massey Energy Co.’s head of security at the Upper Big Branch mine is facing a third federal criminal charge stemming from the nation’s deadliest coal mine explosion in decades.

A superseding indictment unsealed accuses 59-year-old Hughie Elbert Stover of lying to federal officials investigating the explosion.

The Upper Big Branch Mine disaster occurred April 5, 2010 about 1,000 feet underground. Twenty-nine out of thirty-one miners at the site died in the blast.

The first indictment against Stover was last February on charges of lying to agents from the FBI and federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors said Stover ordered a subordinate to throw away thousands of pages of security documents from the mine, owned by Virginia-based Massey.

The superseding indictment accuses Stover of lying when he told MSHA and U.S. Labor Department investigators that security guards were forbidden from warning workers underground when government safety inspectors arrived.

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