Day 3: Trial continues for man charged in fatal 2019 Rockbridge County explosion

Westmoreland trial
Westmoreland trial(WDBJ7)
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 7:40 PM EDT
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ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Trial continues for the man accused of involuntary manslaughter in a fatal explosion in Rockbridge County in 2019.

Wednesday, people who lived in the area of the South River Market took the stand to describe what they saw and heard the day of the explosion.

”I was just still in shock. I’m still getting cold chills just talking about it. I was just in so much shock about it happening.”

One witness testified it shook his entire house and he lived about three miles from the market; others heard a loud boom when it happened.

Many witnesses took the stand saying they were passing by or in the area of the South River Market when the explosion happened in May 2019.

They took pictures and video that day, which the jury got to see Wednesday.

Phillip Westmoreland is charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the explosion that killed four people.

The Commonwealth alleges he is the person who delivered fuel less than an hour before before the explosion happened.

Many community members recalled how they felt that day.

“It was like a nightmare. I mean it really was, it was bad.”

The Rockbridge County Fire-Rescue Chief described what he saw as he pulled up to the scene.

He said the fire was unusual and when he got there, there was a lot of heat coming from the area where the explosion happened.

The jury also heard from a Virginia State Police special agent that described what he saw during the investigation.

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