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Metro Atlanta Truck Driver Charged In Tracy Morgan Crash In N.J.

Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, was charged with one count of death-by-auto and four counts of assault-by-auto in the crash that killed a Peekskill, N.Y. man and critically injured the actor and comedian.

Screenshot courtesy CBS2 video
Screenshot courtesy CBS2 video
By Tom Davis

A truck driver from Georgia was charged Saturday with causing a six-car crash that killed one and critically injured Saturday Night Live alum Tracy Morgan on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury, authorities said.

Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, was charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto after the tractor-trailer he was driving crashed into the van at 1 a.m. Saturday, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

A passenger in the van, James McNair, 62, of Peekskill, N.Y., was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:53 a.m. The four other passengers, including Morgan, were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

Morgan and another passenger, a 36-year-old man from Shelton, Ct., were airlifted to the hospital, according to the prosecutor's office. 

Morgan, 45, the Connecticut man, and another passenger, a 43-year-old man from Jersey City, remain in critical condition. Morgan is a former star of Saturday Night Live and the T.V. show "30 Rock."

The remaining passenger was treated at the hospital and was released.

Bail was set at $50,000 for the tractor-trailer driver, who is expected to surrender, according to the prosecutor's office.

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 were involved in the crash. None of the occupants of those vehicles was injured, according to the prosecutor's office. 

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Melinda June 08, 2014 at 02:04 PM
Not sure where some of you are driving to witness the driving you are speaking of regarding truck drivers. I live in the Metro Atlanta GA area and drive frequently on the interstate system in and around town and have NOT witnessed the type of driving some are claiming to have seen from truck drivers here. I more often see passenger vehicles cutting in front of trucks and causing a hazard in that regard because the trucks are not capable of stopping quickly when a passenger vehicle cuts them off. I have also driven many hours on rural interstate roads between here and North Caolina where I have seen trucks driving over the speed limit there but there is very little traffic in the areas I have witnessed that so it is not a hazard. Since I don't know the specifics of this particular situation (and no one does yet as it is still under investigation) I cannot comment specifically on it. I do know many truck drivers personally through my work and almost always the accidents trucks have been involved in in this area have been the fault of the passenger vehicle drivers so I don't believe "all" truck drivers should be denigrated based on what some people have supposedly witnessed from what I am sure is a very small minority of truck drivers. All that being said, while the interstate system is a sometimes great convenience to enable quick travel across the country it should be remembered the original intent behind the building of the interstate system was for commerce (trucking goods into rural areas so you have the option of going to your local grocery stores and yes, WalMarts to have a wide range of goods and food available cheaply) and for military vehicles and transport to be scrambled quickly in time if that is what was needed for the country's security. It was never really intended to passenger vehicle traffic use so much as for those uses. Therefore, we should all remember to respect these beasts on the roads and not be the ones who dart in and out between the trucks and cause a potential hazard to everyone else. I am sure I will get flamed for taking this position but it gets old hearing stories from others who seem to think the trucks are the problem when statistics just don't bear that to be true.
Maria A. June 08, 2014 at 02:17 PM
Melinda, you are absolutely correct!! Could not have said it better myself. In addition, Walmart employees do NOT have to work there, so if they are not paid enough, they may want to choose a different line of work.....or get another job like most of us have to do. Must be a liberal who put Walmart down...classic liberal style. If Walmart was not in business, how many jobs would be lost? How many families would go hungry? Corporations are not the enemy. Capitalism rules!
Elizabeth Elizabeth June 08, 2014 at 08:42 PM
Hmmmm, I am a conservative and I do not shop at walmart for a variety of reasons including the fluorescent lighting, bad service, and the fact that I feel like I need a shower after being in one. Truck drivers routinely make sincere efforts to tailgate me and run me off the road whenever I dare to drive to Georgia to visit family. There are things we need in a civilized society and times when the price is just too high.
badgergirl June 09, 2014 at 07:23 AM
Move or get hit!” That was the furious motto on a Twitter account bearing the name of a Walmart truck driver charged in the car crash that injured Tracy Morgan and killed his close friend. The biography section of the account bearing the name of Kevin Roper now reads, “Trying to win more than lose! Driving trucks for a living #Walmart.” Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tracy-morgan-driver-talks-aftermath-accident-article-1.1821642#ixzz348kSODNq ABSOLUTELY SAYS IT ALL…...
Lone Stranger June 09, 2014 at 01:42 PM
The guy is in a lot of trouble. Walmart didnt make him do it. Neither are all truck drivers evil. The fact is we live in a harried, hurried, profit before people society that leads to this stuff. America is over. Obama killed it. Somebody turn off the lights. We cant afford the bill anymore.

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