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Ga. trucker charged in Tracy Morgan’s N.J. Turnpike crash: Morgan still critical

The driver of the tractor-trailer whose vehicle allegedly rear-ended Tracy Morgan’s limo bus on the New Jersey Turnpike in the early morning hours of June 7 turned himself in to authorities and was taken to jail in Middlesex County, N.J. Trucker Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Ga., was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the horrific crash that placed Morgan in intensive car and claimed the life of Morgan’s friend and fellow comic, 62-year old James "Jimmy Mack" McNair. McNair was a passenger in Morgan’s bus when it rolled over as a result of the crash.

Tracy Morgan, James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, New Jersey Turnpike, Celebrity, TV,
Photo by Theo Wargo

Morgan was returning from a stand-up comedy gig at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware, and was on his way home to Bergen County, N.J. when the crash occurred, according to USA Today. At approximately 1 a.m. Roper said he didn’t notice the traffic ahead of him had slowed. The tractor-trailer driver reportedly attempted to avoid hitting Morgan’s limo bus, but slammed into the back of it, causing Morgan’s bus to overturn.

A six vehicle pileup resulted which included another tractor-trailer, two cars and a SUV. Morgan and two other passengers from his overturned bus are still listed in critical condition at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in New Brunswick. Another passenger was also admitted to the hospital in fair condition. The two drivers assigned to Morgan’s bus escaped the crash uninjured.

"His family is now with him and he is receiving excellent care," his representative, Lewis Kay, said in a statement issued Saturday.

"We don't anticipate much of a change in his condition today."

CNN reported that the passenger originally admitted to the hospital in fair condition has now been released. Sgt. Gregory Williams with the New Jersey State Police said that he doesn’t believe alcohol played a part in the Saturday morning crash, but added that the six car pileup is still actively under investigation. A spokesperson with the National Transportation Safety Board, Keith Holloway, said that his agency will be investigating “safety issues related to commercial trucking and limousine safety."

The tractor-trailer driver charged in the accident was being held in Middlesex County Jail on $50,000 bail. The 45-year old Morgan became hugely popular as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” for eight seasons followed another other hugely popular role portraying Tracy Jordan on TV’s “30 Rock” from 2006 through 2013. For more on the crash that claimed one life and put Morgan in intensive care, see the video accompanying this article.

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