Friends, family and students are mourning the loss of a young music teacher after a fatal wreck on the Creek Turnpike Friday night. Zachary Roddy was an Oklahoma State University graduate who taught jazz and orchestra at the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences until this school year.
Roddy was driving his Pontiac Trans Am westbound on the turnpike at 161st East Avenue when the car went off the road, crashing into a rocky culvert. The 27-year-old teacher was killed in the rollover wreck.
His passenger, fellow teacher Peter Hilborn, 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," Hilborn said Sunday. He has been released from the hospital and is staying with family in Tulsa.
Hilborn 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."
Hilborn 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."
The two men teach at Bentonville High School in Arkansas where Roddy went after his job at TSAS. They were in Tulsa for a music conference.
"It's terrible," Hilborn said. "I can't believe how many of my friends and family and people in the community have reached out."
Hilborn 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.
Hilborn credits the seatbelt for his own survival.
Administrators sent emails to parents at the Tulsa School of Arts and Science to notify them of Roddy's death. A mom wrote News On 6 to say the young teacher was a mentor to her son.
Grief counselors will be at the school this week.