After actor and comedian Tracy Morgan nearly died after being rear-ended on the highway by a tractor-trailer late June 6, an investigation is underway into what caused the tragic accident that killed Morgan’s fellow comedian, James McNair, and nearly took Morgan’s life.
Morgan, 45, a former “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” cast member, and his assistant, Jeff Millea, 36, were airlifted by helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Morgan remains in care and is said to be gradually recovering.
New Jersey car accident lawyers offer legal advice
Morgan’s limousine bus, a 2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, was traveling northbound on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury Township, some 45 miles from New York City, when a tractor-trailer rear-ended Morgan’s party. The driver of the truck that hit Morgan’s van, Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Georgia, has been charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto, according to the Middlesex County prosecutor’s office. A spokesman for the New Jersey State Police, Sgt. First Class Gregory Williams, said Roper’s bail was set at $50,000.
Preliminary investigation into the cause of the accident found that Roper had failed to notice slower-moving traffic in front of him, and only at the last minute unsuccessfully swerved to avoid hitting Morgan. Roper was driving a Walmart truck, and Walmart has said it will take full responsibility for the accident if it is determined that their driver is at fault.
In a statement, Walmart chief executive Bill Simon said: “This is a tragedy and we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved. We are working quickly to understand what happened and are cooperating fully with law enforcement to aid their investigation. We can’t change what happened, but we will do what’s right for the family of the victim and the survivors in the days and weeks ahead.”
On Wednesday, June 12, the truck driver Roper, (who has sustained no serious injuries from the accident), pled not guilty in a New Jersey courtroom. Judge Bradley Ferencz said a review of Roper’s driving record showed he had no history of accidents, but prosecutors in the case claim Roper had not slept “for a period in excess of 24 hours” at the time of the pileup.
The Morgan collision is the latest in a series of fatal truck crashes in the New Jersey area, now prompting a study by the federal National Transportation Safety Board on the safety of commercial truck operators.
Assistance filing a NJ car accident lawsuit
Recent months have seen a string of fatal accidents on New Jersey highways. In May a man died in a 3-car accident on Route 287 in Southern New Jersey, and on Memorial Day, three teenagers were killed in a multi-car pile-up that involved a bus. Passengers Tevin Campbell, 18, and Kira Strider, 14, were killed instantly, and 16-year-old Amber Fernandez was hospitalized and died from injuries later that day.
The fatalities, along with the latest in the Tracy Morgan car crash, leave victims looking for answers; in the absence of which, an investigation and compensation, with the representation of able New Jersey car accident lawyers, can at least provide some form of resolution and healing.
The law firm of Eisbrouch & Marsh provides free consultations to all auto accident victims. To schedule your case review please call 201-342-5545.
- The New York Times, “Tracy Morgan Critically Hurt in New Jersey Car Crash,” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/08/nyregion/tracy-morgan.html?_r=0
- The New York Times, “Truck Driver Pleads Not Guilty in Tracy Morgan Car Crash,” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/12/nyregion/truck-driver-kevin-roper-pleads-not-guilty-in-tracy-morgan-car-crash.html
- CBS News, “Third Person Dies After Memorial Day Car-Bus Crash in South Jersey,” http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2014/05/27/third-person-dies-after-memorial-day-car-bus-crash-in-south-jersey/
- NJ.com, “Man killed in 3-car crash on Route 287 in Bernards Twp, State Police Say,” http://www.nj.com/somerset/index.ssf/2014/05/man_killed_in_3-car_crash_on_route_287_in_bernards_twp_state_police_say.html