NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. » The truck driver charged in the fatal highway crash that also injured comedian Tracy Morgan and several other people was scheduled to make an initial court appearance.
Kevin Roper was to appear in state Superior Court on Wednesday to face death by auto and assault by auto charges. Roper was driving a Wal-Mart truck early Saturday morning when he allegedly swerved to avoid slowed traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike and plowed into Morgan’s limo.
The criminal complaint alleges the 35-year-old Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, hadn’t slept for more than 24 hours before the accident. Wal-Mart has said it believes he was in compliance with federal safety regulations.
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 Tuesday.
State police on Tuesday released audio recordings from three 911 calls made after the weekend 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 Tuesday where Roper’s trip had originated or where he was headed at the time of the crash. Roper’s New Jersey-based attorney didn’t return messages seeking comment Tuesday.
FX Networks issued a statement Tuesday saying Morgan’s new 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.