Prosecutors say no criminal charges in Illinois ammonia leak that sickened 40+

WAUKGAN, Ill. — Prosecutors in northern Illinois said they won't file criminal charges in connection with an April anhydrous ammonia leak that sickened more than 40 people, including first responders.

The (Waukegan) News-Sun reports that the Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim says his office has determined that no laws were broken in the April 25 incident. Federal officials determined open valves on farm fertilizer tanks led the chemical to leak in Beach Park, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of downtown Chicago.

Authorities said a tractor driver was towing tanks of anhydrous ammonia from Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, to an Illinois farm when the chemical leaked, creating a toxic gas cloud.

Nerheim said, "While the conduct of the worker may have been negligent, it didn't rise to the level of criminal conduct."