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 National

GM recalls 717K vehicles, not for ignition switches

generalmotors

General Motors Co. announced six recalls covering more than 700,000 vehicles in the United States for varying reasons.

in National

Senate panel approves Veterans Affairs nominee

mcdonald

Bob McDonald, President Obama's choice to run the VA, looks set for an easy Senate confirmation.

in Sports

Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlen battling Alzheimers, steps down

patbowlen

Bowlen, 70, is one of the NFL's most well-known owners and guided the Broncos to six Super Bowl appearances during his 30 years at the helm.

in Entertainment

‘The Best Man’ set for ‘threequel’

bestman

The new film appears to pick up from news Howard's character drops at the end of the "The Best Man Holiday," which was released last November.

in National, World

Plane with first coffins of MH17 victims leaves Ukraine

mh17

A Dutch air force plane carrying the first 16 coffins with the remains of victims of the downed Malaysian airliner is on its way to the Netherlands.