Tracy Morgan, 45, had surgery on his broken leg early Monday morning, and rumors began to circulate that he had his leg amputated following the crash that sent him to a hospital with multiple broken bones. His rep, Lewis Kay, denied the rumor, stating that the 30 Rock alumni didn’t have to have his leg amputated, but he is expected to spend the next several weeks at the hospital recovering from his broken femur, fractured ribs, and broken nose.
The rep informed TMZ News that the rumors about Tracy Morgan having had his leg amputated “are completely fabricated.”
Kevin Roper, 35, of Georgia was the driver of the Walmart truck that crashed into the Mercedes Sprinter limo bus Tracy Morgan and others were riding in on their way back from Delaware to where Morgan resides in New York City. He had reportedly fallen asleep behind the wheel, woke up to avoid slamming into the vehicles ahead of him, but swerved right into the back of the limo bus, flipping it over and causing it to hit four other vehicles.
The accident occurred in Cranbury, New Jersey. Tracy Morgan was airlifted by helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, where he has some some improvement, but is still listed in critical condition. A comedian friend of Morgan’s, James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, 61, who was also his mentor and wrote jokes for him, died as a result of the injuries he suffered as a result of the wreck. Three other people who were in the limo bus also sustained serious injuries. They are comics Harris Stanton and Ardie Fuqua, and Jeffrey Millea, one of Morgan’s assistants.
Roper had allegedly been on the road driving a 2011 Peterbilt truck for Walmart for over 24 hours without getting any sleep when the multi-vehicle crash happened early Sunday morning. He is free on a $50,000 bail but on Wednesday, Roper will be required to appear in court. He had originally been scheduled to be arraigned on Monday in a Middlesex County, N.J. court; however, the hearing has now been postponed to Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Though Walmart has stated it would take full responsibility and offer compensation to those people who were injured in the crash if their driver was found to be at fault, an official from the company has denied that Roper had been working over 24 hours straight, despite what court papers allegedly state about prolonged sleep deprivation having been a factor in the accident and the charges against him.
According to a statement released by David Tovar, Vice President of Communications for Walmart, it is the company’s “belief that Mr. Roper was operating within the federal hours of service regulations.” He added that according to Federal law, drivers can “work no more than 14 hours for any shift and 11 hours of driving.”
Studies have been done, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that compares drivers who have been awake for 24 hours to people who have a .010 percent blood alcohol level. That amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream makes him/her legally drunk in all of the 50 states.
It is expected that the log book Kevin Roper kept of his driving status detailing when he was driving, sleeping and on break, will become a crucial piece of evidence in the case, and it might be evidence also if Walmart can be held legally responsible for the wreck. According to U.S. Department of Transportation data, Walmart had a record of having been inspected 5,000 times and only had 18 violations against them related to employees driving longer hours than are legal under Federal law.
According to Morgan’s rep, Lewis Kay, “His fiancée Megan is by his side.” Tracy Morgan is expected to make a full recovery, but he reportedly will be in the New Jersey hospital for several more weeks, and then undergo rehab therapy. Fortunately, he did not have to have his leg amputated, as persistent rumors have claimed. The driver of the Walmart truck, Kevin Roper, was not injured in the multi-vehicle accident. He has since hired the services of a lawyer.
Written by: Douglas Cobb