UPDATE: Trucker In Morgan Crash Was Speeding According To New Re - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: Trucker In Morgan Crash Was Speeding According To New Report

Posted: Updated:
 UPDATE:  NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A report on the crash that seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another man says the driver of a tractor-trailer was speeding before the crash.

The preliminary report released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board says trucker Kevin Roper was driving 65 mph at the time of the June 7 crash.

The report says that about a half-mile south of the crash on the northbound New Jersey Turnpike, signs advised drivers to slow from 55 mph to 45 mph because of construction ahead.

The truck plowed into Morgan's limo van. Morgan is hospitalized in fair condition with a broken leg and other injuries.

Roper, who is from Jonesboro, Georgia, was driving the truck for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart says its trucks are equipped with devices that limit speed to 65 mph.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia accused of triggering a crash in New Jersey that critically injured Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian had not slept for more than 24 hours.
   
The information about 35-year-old Kevin Roper's lack of sleep is contained in a criminal complaint.
   
A court administrator says Roper will face an initial court appearance on Wednesday.
   
Roper has been charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.
   
Authorities say Roper apparently failed to slow for traffic early Saturday and swerved to avoid a crash. His rig smashed into the back of Morgan's Mercedes limo bus, killing comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair.
   
Morgan's publicist says the 45-year-old actor and comedian remained in critical condition and was "more responsive."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A spokesman for Tracy Morgan says that he remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery on a broken leg and will remain in a New Jersey hospital for "several weeks."
    
Lewis Kay says that Morgan was more responsive Sunday after sustaining a broken leg, broken femur, broken nose and several broken ribs in a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike Saturday morning that left a friend dead and two others critically injured.
    
Kay says Morgan's family is "tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans."
    
Two others, 36-year-old Jeffrey Millea, of Shelton, Connecticut, and 43-year-old comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr., of Jersey City, remain in critical condition. Comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair was killed in the crash.
    
A truck driver has been charged.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Previous Story:
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was critically injured Saturday after a tractor-trailer rammed into his chauffeured limousine bus, setting off a chain-reaction crash that left one member of his entourage dead and two others seriously hurt, authorities said.

A truck driver from Georgia was charged with death by auto in connection to the crash, prosecutors said. Middlesex County prosecutors said 35-year-old Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, also faces four counts of assault by auto stemming from the crash. His bail was set at $50,000, and he was expected to turn himself in later Saturday. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Morgan, the former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" cast member, was returning from a standup comedy show in Delaware when his Mercedes limo bus carrying seven people overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike near Cranbury Township at about 1 a.m., state police Sgt. 1st Class Greg Williams said.

James McNair, 62, of Peekskill, New York, a passenger in the limo bus, died at the scene, Williams said. Morgan, 45, and Jeffrey Millea, 36, of Shelton, Connecticut, were flown from the accident scene to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, where they were in critical condition, hospital spokesman Peter Haigney said.

A fourth passenger, comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr., was also in critical condition, while a fifth passenger, comic Harris Stanton, was treated and released, Haigney said. Two others in the limo were unhurt, including the driver.

Morgan remains in the intensive care unit at the hospital.

"His family is now with him and he is receiving excellent care," spokesman Lewis Kay said in a statement. "We don't anticipate much of a change in his condition today but will provide a further update once more information becomes available."

Williams said the tractor-trailer driver apparently failed to notice slow traffic ahead and swerved at the last minute in a vain attempt to avoid a crash. But it smashed into the back of the limo, prompting a chain-reaction crash with a second tractor-trailer, an SUV and two cars.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was working with state police to look at any issues in the crash related to commercial trucking and limousine safety.

Morgan's limo was owned by Atlantic Transportation Services, which said it had one employee behind the wheel and a second in the front passenger seat.

"Although the investigation is still pending, we concur with the preliminary reports that the accident was caused by another vehicle traveling behind the Atlantic limo bus," the Rehoboth Beach, Delaware-based company said. "We are grateful that our drivers did not sustain life-threatening injuries."

Morgan performed comedy standup Friday night at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. His scheduled appearance at the Fillmore Charlotte in North Carolina on Saturday night was canceled.

Fuqua had tweeted that he was opening for Morgan on Friday. On his Instagram page, Fuqua included a collage of photos from the Delaware show.

"This is what it looks like from the stage to see a standing ovation from 1500 people," Fuqua wrote at around midnight Friday. "Then we traveled back to NYC in style in a luxury Mercedes Sprinter. Road life is a good life!"

Morgan, a New York City native, joined "SNL" in 1996 and was on the sketch-comedy program for seven years before leaving to star in "The Tracy Morgan Show" in 2003. That show lasted just one season. In 2006, Morgan found a long-running role on NBC's hit show "30 Rock," which was created by "SNL" co-star Tina Fey. He received an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor for "30 Rock" in 2009.

Morgan grew up fatherless, one of five siblings, in a blighted section of Brooklyn, where he helped raise and support the family.

He once called his gift for being funny "a defense mechanism" for his miserable circumstances. As a teen, he started doing comedy on the streets to supplement the family's welfare income.

His tough upbringing informed his humor.

"My aunt was a crackhead," he told his Brooklyn audience in a recent special aired on Comedy Central. "I remember one Christmas she bought me a Game Boy. Then she stole it. Then she helped me look for it."

In recent years, he has struggled with alcoholism and drunken driving arrests. He had a successful kidney transplant in late 2010.

Morgan's films include "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," ''The Longest Yard," ''First Sunday," ''Rio" and "Why Stop Now."

(Previous Story)

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - A pileup on the New Jersey Turnpike early this morning has left one person dead and sent three people to the hospital in critical condition, including Tracy Morgan.

The actor and comedian was riding in a limousine bus after performing a standup routine at a show in Delaware when the vehicle got caught up in the crash and overturned. Two tractor-trailers, an SUV and two cars were also involved.

New Jersey state police say the man killed was a passenger in Morgan's bus.

The 45-year-old actor and comedian is a native of New York City. He joined the of "Saturday Night Live" in 1996, and after seven years on "SNL" left to star in his own show for a year. Morgan found a long-running role on NBC's hit show "30 Rock," which was created by "SNL" co-star Tina Fey.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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