Truck Driver Charged In Tracy Morgan Crash In N.J.; Peekskill, N.Y. Man Killed

Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Ga., was charged with one count of death-by-auto and four counts of assault-by-auto in the crash that killed a Peekskill, N.Y. man and critically injured the SNL alum.

CBS News2 video photo
CBS News2 video photo

A truck driver from Georgia was charged Saturday with causing a six-car crash that killed one and critically injured Saturday Night Live alum Tracy Morgan on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury, authorities said.

Kevin Roper, 35, of JonesboroGa., was charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto after the tractor-trailer he was driving crashed into the van at 1 a.m. Saturday, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

A passenger in the van, James McNair, 62, of PeekskillN.Y., was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:53 a.m. The four other passengers, including Morgan, were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

Morgan and another passenger, a 36-year-old man from SheltonCt., were airlifted to the hospital, according to the prosecutor's office. 

Morgan, 45, the Connecticut man, and another passenger, a 43-year-old man from Jersey City, remain in critical condition. Morgan is a former star of Saturday Night Live and the T.V. show "30 Rock."

The remaining passenger was treated at the hospital and was released.

Bail was set at $50,000 for the tractor-trailer driver, who is expected to surrender, according to the prosecutor's office.

A preliminary investigation determined that the tractor-trailer crashed into the van, a 2012 Mercedes Sprinter, as both vehicles traveled in the northbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike. Four other vehicles were involved in the crash. None of the occupants of those vehicles was injured, according to the prosecutor's office. 

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the New Jersey State Police Detective Bureau at the Troop D Station in Cranbury at 609-860-9000, extension 4400.


KPez June 10, 2014 at 12:14 PM
The laws for truck drivers "hours on" and "hours off" are really complicated and involved. However, if it's true that this guy had not slept or rested in 24 hours, that is way outside the parameters of the law - no doubt! No sleep and bumper to bumper traffic is certainly a recipe for disaster. I just can't figure out why there would be bumper to bumper traffic at that hour in the morning.
Brookhaven999 June 10, 2014 at 04:11 PM
@ Kristen Pesnell, my uncle was a Teamster all his life, and I've known many tractor-trailer drivers but I'll be the LAST one to start second-guessing the cause of an accident when I wasn't present. Are you clairvoyant or just totally biased? I was nearly killed by a tractor-trailer driver in NJ a few years back because the guy was a psychopath. You know what they say about Newark, NJ? It's where old trucks go to die. Most of the tractors going to and from port cities are 1980s vintage, cost on average, $5000, and are driven by drivers making $28,000 a year. I, for one, don't want to be on the road with these losers. Professional? Not any more. I was on the LIE last weekend, and a tractor-trailer driver got po-ed and abruptly yanked his rig over 2 lanes and travelled in the left lane (illegally) to pass a bunch of cars. This is the first time I've seen a tractor trailer do that in 10 years on the LIE. I travel on Southern State Parkway every weekday, and in spite of all the flashing signs warning trucks to keep out, I've seen many that entered the highway and drove for miles until they came to an underpass. 2 years ago, one went through an underpass and his trailer sdies were all over the highway. The CDL has probably allowed even more idiots to drive commercial vehicles. My sister was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer driver several years ago, and her pickup truck was totalled. The driver begged her not to report it as this was his 2nd accident in 2 weeks. My uncle made very good money during his career as a TEAMSTER and he had nothing but contempt for the recent crop of drivers because they drove dangerous junk and worked for sh*t wages. I'm not anti-truckdriver but I am opposed to your preconceptions that the driver was probably not at fualt. You haven't the slightest idea who was at fault. And by the way, nearly ALL drivers pass and pull in front of trucks, not just those from NJ.
KPez June 10, 2014 at 06:42 PM
Sorry, I didn't read all that. Your first 2 lines proved you read what into my comments what you wanted to. If you read carefully you would see that I was not biased. I actually didn't take a side. I simply said it was still under investigation and that all the facts are not known. My second comment is also indicative of me not being biased. I am not easily baited into senseless debate Sorry if you thought addressing me would cause me to engage.
Brookhaven999 June 11, 2014 at 07:39 AM
Kristen wrote:"Your first 2 lines proved you read what into my comments what you wanted to." Oh, really? The first 2 lines I wrote were "my uncle was a Teamster all his life, and I've known many tractor-trailer drivers but I'll be the LAST one to start..." So, you did read my entore posting. And more comedy:"Sorry if you thought addressing me would cause me to engage." I found your first posting ridiculous and extremely biased and I wrote a rebuttal. You didn't have to become provoked, but you obviously were :-).
KPez June 11, 2014 at 10:58 AM
OK sorry, the first 3 lines. I quit reading at biased & clairvoyant. Listen, I am sure that your views are quite valid (I am not being sarcastic). I am also quite sure you have your own bias, as we all do. You mistakenly assume that I am provoked. In my experience people who start of with a subtly insulting question intend it to provoke. So I stopped right there in order to avoid becoming provoked and engaging in pointless debate, and in competition to see who can come with the best subtle zinger (because in my own pride I know I have a propensity to do so - which is not a good quality). Maybe had you asked a different question that didn't seem so insulting I would have read the rest. I made no declaration of who was was at fault in the case because this particular article only said that it was under investigation and there was no cause listed (but maybe I misread it). Also I did not read any other articles, and any other "facts" brought to bear were from comments of others who claimed to read other articles or some special knowledge (note they didn't site their sources so I have no way to validate them). So in regard to this case, no, I am not biased. Like you, I was not there. Now if you want claim that I have other bias, I may grant you that. For instance, I am bias against New Jersey drivers, but saying that does not have any bearing on the facts in this particular case nor does another truck drivers experiences. I am sure there are a number of things in my comments that others would not agree with, just as I disagree with or hold in contempt some of the comments made by others on this thread.


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