Roanoke man indicted in deadly Rockbridge County gas station explosion released on bond

Roanoke man indicted in connection with 2019 Rockbridge County gas station explosion that killed 4 people

The Roanoke man who was indicted in the 2019 Rockbridge County gas explosion that killed four people has been released on bond, according to online records.

On Thursday, a special grand jury in Rockbridge County indicted Phillip Ray Westmoreland on four counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths caused by the explosion at the South River Market on May 10, 2019. Westmoreland was released on a $20,000 secured bond on Friday.

No new court date has been set for Westmoreland, according to court officials.

Westmoreland is the man who was driving the fuel delivery truck that day, according to Virginia State Police.

Commonwealth’s Attorney for Rockbridge County Jared Moon released the following statement to 10 News

The failure of Westmoreland, a Webb’s Oil employee, “to follow well-established safety protocols” while delivering caused a spill of more than 800 gallons of fuel half an hour before the blast.

He faces a potential of 40 years in prison, plus fines.

Commonwealth’s Attorney for Rockbridge County Jared Moon

In the announcement of his indictment, authorities did not release any information about what caused the deadly explosion.

The market’s owner, Roger Lee Roberts, two employees, Kevin Tate Roberts and Samantha Gail Lewis, as well as a patron, Paul Dewayne Ruley, died in the explosion.

About the Author:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.