Police told ABC News they believed that Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper who caused the accident that left Tracy Morgan and others critically injured was dozing moments before the horrific chain-reaction collision. One of Morgan’s writers and mentor James McNair, 63, of upstate Peekskill was declared dead at the scene of the accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Morgan, 45 was traveling in a luxury van when it was stuck by a Wal-Mart truck on the highway in Cranbury reported The New York Daily News. He and a group of friends were returning to New York after a performance at the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino in Delaware.
Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper, 35, of Georgia has been charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Officials said his bail was set at $50,000. According to New Jersey State Police spokesman Sgt. Gregory Williams the trucker was in the center lane when he swerved to the left at the last moment to avoid traffic. He hit the rear of Morgan’s car making it spin and overturn. Other vehicles including another tractor-trailer got hit as a result causing an ugly pileup.
In a statement, Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon expressed remorse over the accident.
“This is a tragedy and we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved,” Simon said. “The facts are continuing to unfold. If it’s determined that our truck caused the accident, Wal-Mart will take full responsibility.”