Bentonville High Assistant Band Director Dies in Car Crash

Students at Bentonville High School are mourning the loss of their music teacher after a car crash claimed his life Friday night (Oct. 11).
Zachary Roddy, 27, was the Assistant Band Director at Bentonville High School. Parents of marching band students say more than 250 band students learned about the accident on their way to a marching contest in Tulsa.
 Roddy was driving his Pontiac Trans Am westbound on Creek Turnpike at 161st East Avenue when the car went off the road, crashing into a rocky culvert, according to our Tulsa CBS Affiliate KOTV.
His passenger, fellow teacher Peter Hillborn, was able to climb out of the car despite a partially collapsed lung, fractured sternum and other injuries.

“The trooper said from the marks on the grass that we rolled three times and then hit the wall,” Hillborn said Sunday. He has been released from the hospital and is staying with family in Tulsa.

Hillborn didn’t see what caused Roddy to lose control of the car. He’d looked away after getting a notification on his phone.

“It haunts me today,” he said. “I wish I would have known what happened.”

Hillborn called News On 6 to correct an early impression he may have left with authorities that Roddy had received the text while driving.

“We’re actually very careful about that,” he said. “When he was driving, he would give me the phone and make me text his friends back.”

Hillborn said the freak thing about the accident was that he often does not wear his seatbelt while Roddy usually did. Roddy had gotten something out of his pocket earlier in the drive and hadn’t re-fastened his belt.

Hillborn credits the seatbelt for his own survival.

Roddy was an Oklahoma State University graduate who taught jazz and orchestra at the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences until he became part of the Bentonville School District this school year.

Bentonville students are out of school Monday for teacher conferences, but parents tell 5NEWS grief counselors will be at the band’s practice Monday night and Tuesday during school.

Dee Duren with our CBS Affiliate KOTV contributed to this story.

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