Reports on why the accident happened between the Wal-Mart truck driver, Kevin Roper, and the limo bus-carrying comedian Tracy Morgan and others, has been determined. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the NTSB used the electronic engine-control system installed on Kevin’s truck that would indicate how fast he was traveling before the accident occurred. It was determined that Kevin was doing 65 mph in a 45 mph zone. The results said, "A preliminary review of the data showed that the Peterbilt combination vehicle was traveling at 65 mph for the 60 seconds preceding the collision with the Mercedes-Benz limo van."
Kevin allegedly missed the reduced speed limit signs. A spokesman for the Turnpike said that the speed limit on that section of the highway was lowered from 65 mph to 55mph. Due to construction blocking two of the highways three northbound lanes, the traffic had slowed considerably. A sign was posted to alert drivers to reduce their speeds to 45 mph.
Brooke Buchanan, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart said that the trucks would not exceed the top speed of 65 mph. His truck was also equipped with a special device that detects the flow of traffic and it is supposed to slow down automatically and alert the driver when the traffic has stopped. “Of course we expect our drivers to comply with the laws, whether it's a speed limit, or (something else).”
Early reports said that Kevin had not slept in over 24 hours and he fell asleep at the wheel. That has not been ruled out as investigators are still looking into that possibility.
According to Kevin’s logbook for June 6, he is not in violation with federal rules. Kevin left the Smyrna, Delaware Wal-Mart at 11:30 a.m. During the day, Kevin made stops at Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. He left Bristol, Pennsylvania on June 7 just after midnight. His destination was for Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The accident happened 30 minutes after leaving Bristol.
Kevin crashed into the back end of the limo bus carrying comedian Tracy Morgan, Jeffrey Millea, Ardie Fuqua, Harris Stanton, and James McNail, and limo driver Tryone Gale.
Harris Stanton was treated and released right after the accident. Tyrone was not injured in the crash. Tracy and Jeffrey’s conditions have been upgraded to fair. Ardie’s condition remains critical. James, also known as, Jimmy Mack died at the scene. Funeral services or James was held on June 12, 2014.
Kevin is suspended until it is determined whether he was at fault. Kevin drove for Wal-Mart since February, 2014. In order to get a driving job at Wal-Mart, drivers must have driven a tractor-trailer for 50,000 miles within the last three years. Drivers have driven a total of 250,000 miles with a tractor-trailer.