Workers Get Prison for Role in Corn Mill Explosion

They falsified records and lied to investigators.

In October, a federal jury convicted a pair of senior employees at the Didion Milling corn plant in Wisconsin for faking records and obstructing the investigation that followed the fatal dust explosion in 2017. 

Yesterday, a judge sentenced 50-year-old Derrick Clark, Didion's VP of operations, and 45-year-old Shawn Mesner, the former food safety superintendent, to two years in prison, according to multiple reports. 

Five workers died in the explosion at the corn mill in Cambria, Wisconsin. 

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Clark falsified Clean Air Act compliance certifications and was also convicted of lying to investigators. Mesner is guilty of misleading OSHA investigators by including false information on cleaning records.

The company settled on a $1 million fine in September after pleading guilty to environmental and safety charges. Didion also has to pay $10.25 million to the estates of the workers killed in the blast. 

Corn dust is combustible, especially in high concentrations. Grain mill operators are required to perform regular cleanings to reduce dust accumulations. Five other workers have either pleaded guilty or been convicted of their role in the blast. 

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