Update: Truck driver in Tracy Morgan crash hadn't slept in 24 hours
The Wal-Mart truck driver who allegedly slammed into the back of a Mercedes limo bus carrying Tracy Morgan hadn’t slept for more than 24 hours before the deadly wreck occurred, authorities said Monday.
Morgan, a 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live alum, remained in critical condition Monday after undergoing surgery on his leg, the Associated Press reports. Morgan’s close friend, comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair died in the early-morning accident on Saturday after 35-year-old Kevin Roper apparently failed to slow for traffic and swerved at the last minute, crashing into Morgan’s ride.
Tracy Morgan was recovering Sunday, but was expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after having surgery on a broken leg suffered in a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that left two others critically injured and another man dead.
The 45-year-old actor and comedian, a former Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock cast member, remained in critical condition but was “more responsive” Sunday after surgery, said Morgan’s spokesman, Lewis Kay.
Kay said that Morgan also sustained a broken femur, broken nose and several broken ribs and is expected to remain hospitalized for “several weeks.” He said that Morgan’s family is “tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans.”
A Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. Authorities said 35-year-old Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, apparently failed to slow for traffic ahead early Saturday in Cranbury Township and swerved at the last minute to avoid a crash. Instead, his big rig smashed into the back of Morgan’s chauffeured Mercedes limo bus, killing comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, authorities said.
Also critically injured were Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea, 36, of Shelton, Connecticut, and comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr., 43, of Jersey City. They remained in critical condition Sunday evening, said Zenaida Mendez, a spokeswoman for Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick. Another passenger, comic Harris Stanton, was treated and released.
Tyrone Gale, who was driving the limo bus, told ABC News that he was disoriented after the vehicle flipped over and could hear Morgan yelling for help.
“I climbed around and heard Tracy screaming for help,” Gale said. “I climbed up on the body of the limo bus … but I couldn’t reach them.”
Roper, accompanied by his attorney, turned himself in to state police. He was released on $50,000 bail Saturday night and has been placed on administrative leave, Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said Sunday.
Wal-Mart president Bill Simon said the company “will take full responsibility” if authorities determine its truck caused the accident.
Morgan was returning from a standup performance in Delaware when the crash occurred. In all, six vehicles were involved in the pileup, but no one from the other cars was injured.
McNair, 62, of Peekskill, New York, was a close friend and mentor to Morgan, Morgan’s ex-wife, Sabina Morgan, told the New York Daily News. “He was one of the first comedians that took Tracy under his wing,” she said. “They were very close.”