Back on June 7, 2014, Tracy Morgan, actor and comedian known for his antics on the TV show Saturday Night Live and for his character Tracy Jordan, on the TV show 30 Rock, was involved in a truck accident with a few of his friends. The crash with a Walmart truck left Morgan with a traumatic brain injury and several broken bones including his ribs and caused him to be in a coma for 6 days. Morgan's friend, fellow comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, was killed in the truck crash. Now, two and a half years later, Morgan can finally put his truck accident behind him for good.
According to CNN, Kevin Roper, the driver of the Walmart truck, pled guilty to second-degree vehicular homicide and four counts of third-degree aggravated assault in Middlesex County Superior Court, in New Jersey. Roper was responsible for crashing into Morgan's chauffeured limo on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury, New Jersey. At the time of the accident, Roper had been behind the wheel of the Wal-Mart truck after not sleeping in the past 24 hours. He had decided to drive 12 hours to work before starting his 14-hour shift, which according to federal regulations, which state that truck drivers should have at least 10 hours off in order to have enough time to sleep, is illegal.
"Mr. Roper entered a guilty plea to certain counts of the indictment pending against him," Roper's attorney David Glassman told CNN in a statement. "In exchange, he was granted admission into the PTI program (pretrial intervention program)." By entering a 3 year PTI program Roper will be able to maintain a clean record, and the charges against him would be dismissed upon completion of the required 300 hours of community service while staying arrest free.
Glassman’s own opinion of the court's decision was that the deal was "an exceptional result and opportunity given the serious nature of the charges and potential for far more serious outcomes. Kevin is grateful for this opportunity to get these charges dismissed and move on with his life."
As for Walmart's role in the crash, “Safety is the absolute highest priority for Walmart,” the retailer said in an emailed statement acquired by CBS New York. A Walmart company spokeswoman said that Roper’s truck was equipped with a system designed to slow its speed and notify him of stopped traffic ahead, but it is unknown if the system was working at the time.
However, due to the notoriety of the accident, Walmart made an undisclosed settlement with Morgan back in May 2015. The only statement made about the settlement came from Morgan who said, "Walmart did right by me and my family, and for my associates and their families. I am grateful that the case was resolved amicably."
Tracy Morgan is currently on a comedy tour titled, “Picking Up The Pieces.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 72,000 crashes and 800 deaths are attributed to drivers who fall asleep behind the wheel. The CDC states that the warning signs of drowsy driving include lane drifting, frequent yawning or blinking, and difficulty remembering the last few miles. If any of these symptoms occur, it is best for drivers get to a secure location and rest until they are able to proceed to their destination. If you or anyone you know has been involved in an accident involving a driver who fell asleep at the wheel, please feel free to contact the Michigan Law Firm PLLC. Our attorneys are highly qualified in dealing with a variety of motor vehicle accidents. Call us today, 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.