NEW JERSEY—Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was critically injured on June 7 after, a multi-vehicle crash caused the limo bus that he was a passenger in to flip over on the New Jersey Turnpike.
More than six vehicles were involved in the collision that took place in the wee hours of the morning at around 1 a.m., when the driver of a tractor-trailer for Wal-Mart collided into the another vehicle resulting in a chain reaction that caused the limo bus that Morgan was traveling in to turn over. One of the passengers on the bus, comedian James McNair, 62, was pronounced dead on the scene. Morgan and another passenger, a 36-year-old man from Shelton, CT were transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick
Several others were critically injured during the crash. Kevin Roper, 35, who was driving the tractor-trailer, turned himself into authorities on Saturday, where he is facing charges including one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. His bail was set at $50,000.
In a press release, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office stated, “A preliminary investigation determined that the tractor-trailer crashed into the van, a 2012 Mercedes Sprinter, as both vehicles traveled in the northbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike. Four other vehicles subsequently were involved in the crash. None of the occupants of those vehicles was injured.”
Wal-Mart President Bill Simon indicated in a statement on Saturday that, “If it’s determined that our truck caused the accident; Wal-Mart will take full responsibility.” The statement adds, “Safety is our absolute highest priority, but that is no comfort whatsoever to the families and friends who are suffering today. We offer them our deepest condolences. We can’t change what happened, but we will do what’s right for the family of the victim and the survivors in the days and weeks ahead.”
Morgan’s publicist released a statement over the weekend updating the media on the actor’s current condition which read: “While Tracy remains in critical condition, he has been more responsive today, which is an incredibly encouraging sign. He sustained a number of injuries including a broken leg, a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs. He had surgery earlier today on his leg. We expect him to remain in the hospital for several weeks. His family is tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans. We will continue to update his status when new information becomes available.”
The news was a surprise for many celebrities who went to Twitter to offer prayers for the actor, “SNL” star Rachel Dratch tweeted “Shocked to wake up and read that @RealTracyMorgan is injured. Love to Tracy and wishing him strength.” Morgan grew to game as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” and recently starred in the Tina Fey hit series “30 Rock.” According to reports, Morgan is expected to spend a substantial amount of time in the hospital as he recovers from his injuries.
Roper was in court on June 11 where he pled not guilty to the charges resulting from the crash. If found guilty of the charges, Roper could face up to 10 years in prison.