Bentonville schools were not in session Monday (Oct. 14) due to in-service, but band practice was still scheduled, beginning with grief counseling after the death of 27-year-old Zachary Roddy, the assistant band director.
State police said he drove off the road on Creek Turnpike on Friday night, rolling his car three times before hitting a wall. Roddy was pronounced dead shortly afterward.
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.
Roddy is known as a talented composer, piano and trumpet player.
“He just has affected so many people, he’s a great example to all of us on how to live,” said Nick Fernandez, Roddy’s friend and co-worker.
Roddy has been with the Bentonville School District since August, working with junior high and high school students
“What he has done in the last two and half months has been remarkable,” said Mary Ley, Bentonville School District.
Fernandez, school district percussion coordinator, met Roddy in 2009. They`ve been working together teaching music from Oklahoma to Bentonville, becoming best friends along the way.
At Fernandez’s wedding, Roddy was by his side, a day Roddy told Fernandez was his favorite day.
“When we think back on our wedding day, we think of Zach,” said Fernandez.
Not only did Fernandez admire Roddy`s talents, but he said Roddy could put a smile on anyone`s face.
“He`s like the nerdiest guy, like the nerdiest guy, and he`s gone so far around the nerdy circle, that it`s cool,” said Fernandez.
His personality shined through his talents.
“When you introduce him to someone, he doesn`t shake hands. He goes right for the hug,” said Fernandez.