As the world waits with bated breath to find out any available condition updates on Tracy Morgan, it has been revealed that Wal-Mart trucks have had 380 crashes and nine fatal accidents in the past two years. Kevin Roper, 35, the Wal-Mart truck driver, who has been held responsible for the fatal accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, is said to have been awake for 24 hours before the accident. The crash killed James McNair, a friend of actor and comedian Tracy Morgan. James McNair, 62, a comedian who performed under the name of Jimmy Mack, was killed on the spot, while Morgan, 45, was injured in the accident and was in critical but stable condition yesterday. Morgan has a broken leg, nose and ribs as a result of the accident. Two other passengers, Ardie Fuqua, 43, and Jeffrey Millea, 26, are also said to be in critical condition. Another passenger, Harris Stanton, 37, was treated and released from the hospital.
Morgan’s fiancée Megan was by his side in the hospital. She has made a request to the media to wait for the official release about Morgan’s condition before she makes a statement. It is expected that Morgan may have to spend several weeks in the hospital before he fully recovers from his injuries, but at this time, he has been stabilized, which is welcome news to his fans, friends and family.
The accident took place on the New Jersey Turnpike at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday. Roper was driving a tractor-trailer, which hit the limousine bus in which the actor and other passengers were traveling. The driver apparently failed to see the slow moving limo bus ahead and crashed into it from behind. The accident caused a chain reaction and the limo bus overturned. A few other vehicles were also hit as a result. The Tracy Morgan crash joins a line of 380 other accidents Wal-Mart has had within just two years’ time.
The actor, who is best known for his performances in Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, was returning after a performance at a casino in Delaware. While Wal-Mart has stated that it will investigate, driving without sleep for more than 24 hours is a criminal violation of New Jersey state law. According to the complaint filed in the Middlesex county court, Roper has been charged with death by auto as well as three counts of causing injury with an auto. Currently, the driver is free on bail of $50,000 and will appear in court in New Brunswick on Wednesday.
The state police, who are investigating the case, denied releasing the previous driving record of Roper. A Wal-Mart spokeswoman, Brooke Buchanan, however, in a news release said that Roper was driving well within the confines of the law. She further said that they are fully cooperating with the investigative agencies and need to wait for the reports before commenting further. As per Federal law, a driver can drive for 11 hours in a 14 hour period and then has to take a rest of 10 hours to drive again.
The company has a satisfactory safety rating, though besides the Tracy Morgan crash, Wal-Mart drivers have been involved in 380 accidents and nine fatal accidents in the past two years. Bill Simon, Wal-Mart CEO, expressed his sorrow for the accident and wished for the quick recovery of the injured. He also said that if the driver is found to be guilty of not following the state traffic regulation law, then Wal-Mart will take full responsibility for the accident.
By: Rebecca Savastio