Roanoke man indicted two years after South River Market explosion

by James Laverty

A Rockbridge County Circuit Court grand jury indicted a man in the deaths of four people following a large explosion at the South River Market in May of 2019.

Phillip Ray Westmoreland, 51, was indicted on four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

A tombstone dedicated to the four people who lost their lives at the South River Market explosion. Photo by Felicity Taylor.

Records show Westmoreland had delivered fuel to the gas station approximately half an hour before the explosion that killed four and injured three others.

The explosion killed the owner of South River Market, Roger Lee Roberts, his son Kevin Tate Roberts and his granddaughter Samantha Gail Lewis as well as Paul Dewayne Ruley, a regular at the store.  The explosion injured three other customers, including Wayne Rogers and Jeff Staton.