A Roanoke man killed this week in a car crash was a well-respected engineer in the Virginia natural gas industry, a colleague recalled.

Thomas Orr II, known as Pete, spent about 27 years at Roanoke Gas Co., said Jim Shockley, vice president and chief operating officer.

Orr, 48, was killed Tuesday when a 2000 Volvo sedan crashed into Orr’s 2004 Toyota Sienna at the intersection of Brambleton Avenue and Garst Mill Road.

The driver of the Volvo, who had not been charged Thursday, told police he smoked marijuana about half an hour before the crash, according to search warrants filed in Roanoke Circuit Court. Police seized three bags of green leafy material from his freezer.

Orr’s car was hit “with enough force to push the Toyota Sienna across the road, into a pole and guidewires,” and causing the Volvo to flip over, a warrant says.

Orr was most recently director of safety and compliance for Roanoke Gas, where he oversaw field training of about 80 workers.

“He was well respected in the industry and the region,” Shockley said. “He was very humble, caring, selfless.”

Orr had just been named incoming chairman of the board of Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia. He grew up in the Roanoke area and graduated from Virginia Tech.

The driver of the Volvo was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.

One other person injured in the crash has since been released from the hospital.

Police provided no other information Thursday about the circumstances of the four-vehicle crash. They initially said that speed and alcohol or drugs might have been factors.

Police spokeswoman Amy Whittaker said investigators need to do more work to determine what exactly happened and what charges could be filed.

“While they are mindful that the public would like to know what happened, their work comes first, then facts can be shared,” she said.

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