A 35-year-old former Wal-Mart trucker currently faces criminal charges for allegedly causing the fatal car crash that seriously injured famous comedian Tracy Morgan this past weekend. Authorities said that Kevin Roper violated applicable safety regulations by driving the oversized commercial vehicle for 24 continuous hours without rest or sleep.
Disputed Details of Fatal Car Crash
According to police reports, the accident occurred last Saturday on the New Jersey Turnpike at approximately 1 a.m. Law enforcement officials believe the fatal sequence of events began when the 2011 Peterbilt tractor-trailer Roper was driving struck a limousine bus occupied by Tracy Morgan and fellow comedians Harris Stanton, Ardie Fuqua and James McNair.
Better known by the stage name Jimmy Mack, comedy actor James McNair died due to catastrophic injuries sustained from severe impact during the collision. Fuqua, Stanton, Tracy Morgan and passenger Jeffrey Millea were also seriously hurt. After suffering broken limbs, a broken nose and several broken ribs, Tracy Morgan was reportedly in critical but stable condition and expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after this writing.
Five Criminal Counts Filed Against Trucker in Fatal Car Crash
Roper was charged with one count of vehicular death and four counts of vehicular assault in connection with the accident. After surrendering to police less than 24 hours after the fatal wreck, he was released on a $50,000 bond.
A New Jersey State Police sergeant speculated that the defendant failed to decelerate promptly while approaching slower traffic. Consequently, Roper swerved abruptly to avoid colliding with the Mercedes limo bus but struck it from behind, thus forcing the luxury carrier to spin and capsize. According to the Mercer County New Jersey Prosecutor, the resulting impact set off a chain reaction that involved four other cars.
Wal-Mart USA President and CEO Bill Simon expressed profound regret that his company’s truck was involved and promised to “take full responsibility” if its former driver is deemed at fault in the fatal car crash. Despite those sympathetic sentiments, Simon further stated, “the facts are continuing to unfold.” Likewise, spokesperson Brooke Buchanan revealed Wal-Mart’s belief that Roper’s prolonged tractor-trailer operation fell within permissible federal regulatory guidelines.
National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Keith Holloway stated that his agency intends to launch an investigation of “commercial trucking and limousine safety issues.” Regardless of administrative findings, however, NTSB has no authority to render legal judgments in favor of accident victims.
Unlike those in many similar cases, the accused culprit in the Tracy Morgan tragedy may be held criminally accountable. No amount of prison time can possibly restore human lives lost or permanently damaged by drunken or drowsy drivers behind the wheel. That is why parties often choose to file civil lawsuits for compensation against the responsible party or parties. Many of those injured or the families of those killed do not realize they have such an option, which is why it is important to consider seeking legal counsel if involved in such an incident. Attorney Group is here to inform you of your legal rights in your unique situation, and connect you with an affiliated attorney who can help you file a lawsuit. Contact us today for a free consultation.