A Walmart truck driver blamed for causing a New Jersey crash Saturday that killed one man and injured four others including actor/comedian Tracy Morgan faces multiple criminal charges in connection with the crash.
Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Ga., was driving a Walmart tractor trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike when his truck smashed into a limousine van carrying Mr. Morgan and other comedians. New Jersey State Police told the Associated Press Mr. Roper failed to notice traffic slowing in front of him and swerved to avoid a collision, causing him to slam into Mr. Morgan’s van, which flipped upside down. The collision set off a chain reaction involving another tractor trailer, two cars, and an SUV.
Mr. Morgan, famous for his roles on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, was sent to the intensive care unit at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Center in New Brunswick, N.J., for multiple critical injuries including a broken leg, nose, and ribs. He is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks. Three other passengers in Mr. Morgan’s can were injured, two of them critically.
The crash killed 62-year-old comedian James McNair of Peekskill, N.Y., a friend and mentor to Mr. Morgan who had accompanied him and the others to a performance at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware. The group was returning to New York from that show when the crash occurred. Mr. McNair, who performed under the name “Jimmy Mack,” died at the scene.
Comedians Ardie Fuqua and Harris Stanton and Mr. Morgan’s assistant Jeff Millea, were among the others injured.
Mr. Roper is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to face one charge of vehicular homicide for Mr. McNair’s death and four counts of assault with an automobile.
Additionally, Mr. Roper faces a complaint filed Monday accusing him of driving more than 24 hours without sleep, a violation of federal Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules designed to combat fatigue-related accidents among commercial truck drivers.