Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Officials look at work commute in accident that injured Tracy Morgan; driver pleads not guilty

Kevin Roper, center, is surrounded by media as Middlesex County Sheriff's officers assist him as he leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Enlarge Image

Kevin Roper, center, is surrounded by media as Middlesex County Sheriff's officers assist him as he leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A truck driver pleaded not guilty Wednesday in the fatal New Jersey Turnpike crash that also injured comedian Tracy Morgan as investigators look into what role his long commute to work played in the accident.

Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper lived in Georgia, but his job was based in Delaware, National Transportation Safety Board spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said.

A criminal complaint alleges that the 35-year-old Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, hadn't slept for more than 24 hours before the accident when he allegedly swerved to avoid slowed traffic on the turnpike and plowed into Morgan's limo on Saturday morning.

Wal-Mart has not explained what Roper's driving route was. The company has said it believes he was in compliance with federal safety regulations.

Roper's pleaded not guilty to assault and death by auto charges and his bail was kept at $50,000. Roper and his attorney, David Glassman, refused to answer reporters' questions after the hearing about whether Roper was the author of tweets from a Twitter account bearing his name and featuring his picture and calling reports of his not having slept for 24 hours before the accident "complete BS!"

A conviction on a death by auto charge carries a five-to-10-year prison sentence. Each assault by auto charge is punishable by up to 18 months in prison.

The 45-year-old Morgan suffered a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs. His friend and fellow comedian James McNair was killed, and two other passengers were seriously injured. Another passenger was treated and released from the hospital Saturday, and the limo driver and one more passenger weren't injured.

Morgan underwent surgery for his broken leg and remained in critical but stable condition.

Morgan's assistant, Jeffrey Millea, 36, of Shelton, Connecticut, and comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr., 43, of Jersey City, also remain in critical condition, a hospital spokesman said.

State police on Tuesday released audio recordings from three 911 calls made after the accident.

"It's a terrible accident," a woman tells the dispatcher in one of the calls. "The car flipped. It's on its side. It's two vehicles and a Wal-Mart truck."

Citing the criminal investigation, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman wouldn't say where Roper's trip had originated or where he was headed at the time of the crash.

FX Networks issued a statement saying Morgan's new TV series, a half-hour comedy scheduled to start filming in August for a January premiere on the FXX network, would be waiting for him once he's well.

___

Associated Press writer Joan Lowy reported from Washington, D.C.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media