Roark, Jonathan D. (P3, C2, L15)
Staff Sergeant Jonathan David “Ro” Roark, 34, of Rockholds, Whitley County died in a vehicle accident on Interstate 75 on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. He was born in Pineville, Bell County. Roark was a full time employee of the Kentucky National Guard serving as the Human Resources Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, (HHC) 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry in Barbourville.
Roark was returning from Frankfort and was on Title 32 AGR (Active Guard Reserve) status driving in a government vehicle, a 2010 Chevrolet HHR, and was involved in a chain reaction collision with six other commercial vehicles on I-75. Roark had slowed down or stopped due to construction traffic delays backing up from further down the interstate at about 1 p.m. The accident occurred about 5 miles south of the Berea exit heading southbound on I-75 at the 71 mile marker. Also killed in the crash was the driver of a FedEx Ground commercial vehicle involved in the accident - Toby Caudill, 41, of Glenford, Ohio. The tractor-trailers hit each other — with Roark’s car caught in the middle of the chain-reaction.
The Chevrolet HHR (Heritage High Roof) was a retro-styled compact station wagon marketed as a multi-purpose crossover vehicle.
Roark served in the Kuwait / Iraq Theatre of Operations from 24 July 2011 to 29 November 2011. Roark’s awards and decorations include: Army Commendation Medal; Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Iraq Campaign Med with Campaign Star; Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Service Ribbon; Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device. Roark was posthumously promoted from Sergeant to Staff Sergeant.