Testimony continues in Rockbridge County gas station explosion trial

The explosion happened in 2019

Today marked day four of the trial, and the jury heard from two state police special agents

BUENA VISTA, Va. – The trial continues for a man prosecutors say is responsible for a deadly gas station explosion.

Phillip Westmoreland is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

After the jury was decided, arguments were given, and on day three, the trial continued. Now, day 4 is officially wrapped up.

During the trial, we heard the initial interview between Westmoreland and the police on the day of the explosion.

Westmoreland told the police it wasn’t different than any other day.

The jury listened to Westmoreland’s 1 hour and 45 min interview with law enforcement almost in its entirety.

Westmoreland described what he did that day and how he measured the fuel, saying he’d filled up the tanks at that gas station around seven to times before.

Police also noted that Westmoreland was up to date on his commercial driver’s and hazardous material licenses required to drive tractor trailers & transport fuel.

Prosecutors argued Westmoreland did not check the conversion charts to make sure he wasn’t overfilling the tanks.

The defense argued that the scene was not properly investigated and evidence was lost because the state police lead agent was unaware that two dumpsters filled with debris were removed from the scene.

Westmoreland said he doesn’t drink, use drugs, or smoke, and he wasn’t on his cellphone while filling the gas tanks.

The trial will continue on Friday morning.


About the Authors:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

You can watch Lindsey during Virginia Today every weekend or as a reporter during the week!