Suspect in deadly Rockbridge County explosion accepts plea deal

BUENA VISTA, Va. – The suspect in a deadly explosion at a Rockbridge County gas station has accepted a plea deal.

Philip Westmoreland pleaded guilty to an indictment of involuntary manslaughter on Thursday, and the judge took the case under advisement to be reduced to a misdemeanor with no jail. He’s been sentenced to two years of felony supervised probation.

Three other indictments were dropped.

[Roanoke man expected to enter guilty plea in 2019 Rockbridge County gas station explosion case]

Westmoreland is said to be the one who delivered fuel to the South River Market gas station ahead of the explosion that killed four people in 2019.

The case was declared a mistrial in September after the jury was dismissed in August, as we reported.

[Rockbridge County gas station explosion case declared a mistrial]

As part of the deal, Westmoreland must be on good behavior, not use any illegal substances, not drink alcohol excessively and stay in touch with his probation officer.

If he abides by those terms, the felony indictment will then be amended to a misdemeanor charge of unsafe handling of a flammable liquid and he’ll beon unspervised probation for a year.

Stick with 10 News as this breaking news story develops.

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