News

Trucker in Tracy Morgan crash was speeding

Trucker in Tracy Morgan crash was speeding

FATAL CRASH:Truck driver Kevin Roper looks on next to defense attorney David Glassman (L) during his hearing at a courthouse in New Jersey. Roper, 35, pleaded not guilty last week to multiple charges. Photo: Reuters

By Curtis Skinner

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The truck driver accused of causing a fatal car crash on a New Jersey highway that critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan was driving 65 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone, federal investigators said on Thursday.

Data recovered from the truck driven by Walmart Stores Inc. delivery driver Kevin Roper, showed the tractor trailer was traveling at a speed of 65 mph in the minute leading up to the fatal crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report.

About half a mile from the crash site, speed limit signs instructed drivers to reduce speed from 55 mph to 45 mph due to construction work ahead.

The report, which said the NTSB investigation is ongoing, also noted that the 35-year-old trucker from Georgia had logged over 9-1/2 hours of driving time by the time the crash occurred and had been on duty for 13-1/2 hours. Federal rules limit commercial drivers to logging a maximum of 14 hours at a stretch.

Last week, Roper pleaded not guilty to criminal charges of death by auto and injury by auto while operating his tractor trailer. Prosecutors said he had not slept “in excess of 24 hours.”

Roper, who is free on $50,000 bail, stands accused of failing to see traffic slowing in front of him on the New Jersey Turnpike and slamming into the back of the limousine van, which was carrying Morgan, who is best known for roles on the TV shows “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live,” and several of his associates.

The chain reaction crash early on June 7 involved a total of six vehicles, and killed a passenger in the limo van, comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair.

Morgan remains hospitalized and on Monday his condition was upgraded to fair from critical.

Walmart has promised to cooperate in the state and federal investigation into the crash and said its drivers are among the safest on the road.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Beech)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

‘War Room’ Stuns With $11M, Zac Efron’s ‘We Are Your Friends’ Tanks

Fresh
20-overlay14

The box office underwent a religious conversion this weekend as Christian crowds flocked to "War Room," lifting the low-budget salute to prayer above the Zac Efron drama "We're You're Friends" and the Owen Wilson thriller "No Escape."

in Music

Swift leads winners but West, Cyrus rule the VMAs

Fresh
24-overlay8

Taylor Swift may have won the most Moonmans on Sunday but it was her reunion with rapper Kanye West on the MTV Video Music Awards stage that stole the show, as West declared he will run for the U.S. presidency in 2020.

in Entertainment

Prolific horror filmmaker Wes Craven dead

Fresh
19-overlay13

Craven, who was also behind the 1990s horror hit "Scream," died surrounded by his loved ones at his Los Angeles home after suffering from brain cancer.

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Aug. 31

JACKSON

A walk down Hollywood's memory lane.

in Music

10 of the most memorable MTV Video Music Awards moments

mileycyrusvma

Since debuting in 1984, the MTV Video Music Awards have prided themselves on being a stage for all things hip - and often - controversial.