Tracy Morgan has spoken heroically about his life threatening accident and publicly mourned the loss of his dear friend, James McNair. In an emotional interview on Monday June 1st, Morgan spoke out for the first time about the car crash that left him in a coma and took the life of his friend and fellow comedian James McNair, more commonly known as Jimmy Mack. Speaking to the Today show, Morgan held back the tears as he said, “The case is settled, but the pain is always going to be there for Jimmy Mack.”
On June 6, 2014, Morgan and McNair were traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike, when their limousine bus was rear ended by a Wal-Mart truck. McNair was pronounced dead at the scene and four others, including Morgan, were rushed to the hospital. He remained in a coma for two weeks and has since been recovering from a broken leg, broken nose, several broken ribs and severe brain injury. Morgan said he still suffers with “headaches and nosebleeds,” as a result of the fatal collision, and is aware that he has a long way to go before he is fully recovered.
The comedy actor, appearing on the show with the support of a walking cane, told Today host Matt Lauer that he struggles to recall the specifics of the accident and that upon his release from the hospital, he took to watching YouTube videos of the crash and of McNair’s funeral to help him come to terms with what had happened. “I had to pay my respects and that was my way,” he said. Speaking audibly but clearly with emotion, he told Lauer how difficult he found it to accept his friend’s death and, in a show of public mourning for James McNair, wept as he paid tribute to him. “He was a loving man, he was a warm man, he was a good man. It’s just hard for me to see that he’s gone,”said Morgan
Last week, McNair’s family was awarded a settlement from the Wal-Mart chain who accepted full responsibility for the accident. According to a report carried out by the National Transportation Safety Board, truck driver Kevin Roper had been driving more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit at the time of the crash, as well as having been awake for 24 consecutive hours. It is rumored that Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillion wishes to meet with the families involved in the accident this week to personally apologize for the personnel oversight that cost a great comedian his life. Comedy star Morgan is said to consider this “a huge gesture.”
During the Today interview the actor, most famously known for his portrayal of Tracy Jordan in the hit NBC show 30 Rock, thanked his family, friends and medical staff for their continued support during a very difficult time. He also paid particular thanks to his co-stars, including Emmy and Golden Globe winner Tina Fey, for their efforts in keeping up his spirits.
After surviving such a horrific ordeal and publicly mourning the loss of his dear friend and fellow comedian, James McNair, Tracy Morgan would be forgiven for shying away from the limelight. However, he is determined to return to comedy once his recovery is complete, “I’ll get back to making you laugh” he told Lauer. “I promise.”
By Alison Klippenstein
BBC News: Tracy Morgan ‘doesn’t remember accident’
Today: Tracy Morgan cries in first interview since crash: ‘Pain will always be there’
CNN Money: Tearful Tracy Morgan Thanks Wal-Mart After Accident
Photo Courtesy of Mike Mozart’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Photo Courtesy of David Shankbone’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License