QUINTON, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s been two years and one week since an oil rig exploded in the town of Quinton, Okla.
It is the deadliest drilling disaster since the Shale Boom started.
Now, it’s also part of one of the largest jury verdicts ever given in the State of Oklahoma.
Two of the five families brought a lawsuit and now they’re being awarded $20 million.
A widow of one of the men spoke only with News 4.
“Sitting through this trial was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” Sarah Ray said through Skype from her home in Fort Worth, Texas.
Sarah Ray traveled from Texas to the Pittsburg County Courthouse for the trial.
“I fought for our marriage. I fought for our daughter,” she said.
Josh Ray was 35 years old when the oil rig he was working on in Quinton, Okla., exploded, killing him and four other men in January of 2018.
“I kept trying to call him and call him and call him, and he wouldn’t answer,” Sarah said.
His daughter was just 11 years old at the time.
“My last words to my daughter before I left were, ‘I promise I’m gonna go get your daddy,’ and I didn’t,” she said.
Monday, after a weeks-long trial, a jury found three companies at fault: Red Mountain Energy, Patterson UTI and National Oilwell Varco.
Two of those companies settled with the family before court, leaving National Oilwell Varco (NOV) to face a team of attorneys.
“NOV failed to accept any responsibility whatsoever for this accident, and therefore, a trial was necessary; and to the bitter end, they continued to deny any responsibility for this accident,” said one of the family’s attorneys, Jeff Wigington.
Wigington told News Four that NOV even blamed Josh Ray at one point, claiming the accident wouldn’t have happened if he had shut off the well.
“Josh Ray didn’t have any responsibility whatsoever for this accident,” Wigington said.
The jury ultimately awarded the families of Cody Risk and Josh Ray $20 million.
Most importantly, the jury agreed that Josh Ray was at no fault for the tragedy.
“He loved me so much and I had to clear his name,” his wife said.
National Oilwell Varco also gave News Four a statement, saying in part, “We are glad the jury saw NOV’s role was minor. It was at the bottom of the food chain in this horrible accident.”