REINEKE FORD   ||   NEWS UPDATES

Tracy Morgan, 2 others critical; trucker charged

Comment: Off

In this image from video the limousine bus carrying Tracy Morgan and six other people lies on it’s side, left, as emergency responders work the accident scene early Saturday morning June 7, 2014 on the New Jersey Turnpike. Morgan remained hospitalized as state and federal officials continued their investigation of the six-vehicle crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that took the life of a Morgan friend and left two others seriously injured, authorities say. (AP Photo/Will Vaultz Photography)

In this image from video the limousine bus carrying Tracy Morgan and six other people lies on it’s side, left, as emergency responders work the accident scene early Saturday morning June 7, 2014 on the New Jersey Turnpike. Morgan remained hospitalized as state and federal officials continued their investigation of the six-vehicle crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that took the life of a Morgan friend and left two others seriously injured, authorities say. (AP Photo/Will Vaultz Photography)

In this image from video the limousine bus carrying Tracy Morgan and six other people lies on it’s side early Saturday morning June 7, 2014 on the New Jersey Turnpike. Morgan remained hospitalized as state and federal officials continued their investigation of the six-vehicle crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that took the life of a Morgan friend and left two others seriously injured, authorities say. (AP Photo/Will Vaultz Photography)

In this image from video the Wal-Mart truck involved in the crash of the limousine bus carrying Tracy Morgan and six other people is seen early Saturday morning June 7, 2014 on the New Jersey Turnpike at the accident scene. Morgan remained hospitalized as state and federal officials continued their investigation of the six-vehicle crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that took the life of a Morgan friend and left two others seriously injured, authorities say. Wal-Mart President Bill Simon said in a statement a Wal-Mart truck was involved and that the company “will take full responsibility” if authorities determine that its truck caused the accident. (AP Photo/Will Vaultz Photography)

FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2010 file photo, Tracy Morgan attends Comedy Central’s ‘Night Of Too Many Stars: An Overbooked Concert For Autism Education’ at the Beacon Theatre in New York. Morgan is in critical condition at a hospital in New Brunswick, NJ Saturday morning June 7, 2014 following a violent multi-vehicle crash on the NJ Turnpike overnight. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes, File)

Traffic moves past a dented guard rail and traffic cones, pass the scene of a serious accident at milepost 71 on the northbound lanes of New Jersey Turnpike on Saturday, June 7, 2014 near Cranbury, N.J. Comedian Tracy Morgan is in critical condition following an early morning accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. The comedian was injured in a crash involving six vehicles that left at least one person dead and several others, including Morgan, with serious injuries. (AP Photo/David Gard)

Buy AP Photo Reprints

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and two members of his entourage were in critical condition Sunday, a day after a tractor-trailer rammed into his chauffeured limousine bus, setting off a deadly chain-reaction pileup.

The former “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” cast member was returning from a standup show in Delaware early Saturday with six others when the limo bus overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike, killing Morgan’s mentor and fellow comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair. The tractor-trailer driver was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.

Jeffrey Millea, of Shelton, Connecticut, and comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr. were listed in critical condition along with Morgan at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, hospital spokeswoman Zenaida Mendez said Sunday. Another comedian, Harris Stanton, was treated and released from the hospital Saturday.

The truck driver, 35-year-old Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, apparently failed to slow for traffic ahead and swerved at the last minute to avoid a crash, authorities said.

Instead, the big rig smashed into the back of the Mercedes limo bus, prompting a chain-reaction crash with a second tractor-trailer, an SUV and two cars, authorities said.

Roper’s bail was set at $50,000. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Wal-Mart President Bill Simon said in a statement that one of the company’s trucks was involved and that the company “will take full responsibility” if authorities determine its truck caused the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was working with state police to look at any issues in the crash related to commercial trucking and limousine safety.

Morgan’s limo was owned by Atlantic Transportation Services, which said it had one employee behind the wheel and a second in the front passenger seat. Neither was injured.

“Although the investigation is still pending, we concur with the preliminary reports that the accident was caused by another vehicle traveling behind the Atlantic limo bus,” the Rehoboth Beach, Delaware-based company said.

Fuqua had tweeted that he was opening for Morgan on Friday night at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware. On his Instagram page, Fuqua included a collage of photos from the show.

“This is what it looks like from the stage to see a standing ovation from 1500 people,” Fuqua wrote at around midnight Friday. “Then we traveled back to NYC in style in a luxury Mercedes Sprinter. Road life is a good life!”

McNair, 62, of Peekskill, New York, was a close friend and mentor to Morgan, Morgan’s ex-wife, Sabina Morgan, told the New York Daily News. “He was one of the first comedians that took Tracy under his wing,” she said. “They were very close.”

Royale Watkins, a Los Angeles-based comedian who said he had performed in New York clubs with Morgan and McNair, described McNair as having a big personality.

“There may be guys like Tracy who get the fame and notoriety, but you have people like Jimmy Mack who have kind of energized and fueled cats like Tracy and kept them going on the road,”

Comments

comments

About the Author