Jonesborough truck driver killed in Baton Rouge robbery remembered as 'happy and jolly'

Becky Campbell • Updated Aug 9, 2017 at 11:18 PM

Friends of truck driver Keith Odom, gunned down when he was robbed as he repaired a leaking tire on his trailer Tuesday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were still in shock Wednesday.

Odom, 49, of 1214 Old State Route 34, died shortly after being shot by a black male who still hasn’t been found.

Friends and co-workers of Odom’s were still taking in the reality Wednesday that he was gone.

“He was always a kind, caring person,” said Chris Boy, a diesel mechanic at Travis Brown Trucking, where the two men worked. “He never had a bad word to say to nobody. He was always happy and jolly.”

Odom shared in such a large network of trucking friends that word of his death spread quickly across the United States, Boy said.

“When it happened it hit the truck world and it spread like wildfire,” Boy said.

Odom made his mark on the trucking industry when he worked for a couple of large companies doing coast-to-coast hauling, Boy said.

He said they traveled to truck shows and truck pulls together and just enjoyed being around big trucks.

Boy was with his boss, Travis Brown, when the call came Tuesday from a Baton Rouge police officer. Boy and Brown thought it was a joke at first.

“We’d pull pranks on each other,” Boy said. “When this happened we thought it was a prank. A police officer called us … when the guy robbed (Odom) he took his billfold and cellphone.”

Still thinking it was a joke, Boy started calling his friend’s cellphone, but it kept going straight to voicemail. They soon realized there was no prank and the reality of Odom’s death hit them.

“He would have given you the shirt off his back,” Boy said. “He’d have given (the shooter) his tractor trailer, just don’t take his life.”

Boy said Odom had arrived at his drop destination around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and slept until around 7:30 a.m. He had walked across the street to a parts store to get a tire patch kit in order to fix his tire before his 8:30 a.m. appointment to get his truck unloaded.

The plan was to get reloaded at the same location and head to Jonesborough.

“Another hour, he’d have been out of there,” Boy said. “He was just a great friend and great family member. He wouldn't hurt nobody, Even if he’d had a gun, he probably wouldn’t have pulled the trigger.”

Boy said if Odom had finished this load, the company had planned to pull him into the office as a dispatcher and place another driver on his truck.

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