The next court date for Walmart truck driver Kevin Roper whose truck crash on the New Jersey Turnpike injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed his friend is set for November 9th. Roper was behind the wheel and reportedly awake for 28 hours in the June 7, 2014 accident on the NJ Turnpike involving Morgan and his entourage and resulted in the death of James McNair
The status conference date was set after Assistant Prosecutor Sheree Pitchford and Roper’s attorney, David Glassman, met in closed quarters Thursday with Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Michael Toto. Roper, a resident of Jonesboro, Georgia, did not attend the court session.
Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury, in addition to a broken leg, nose and ribs. His friend, mentor and fellow comedian McNair was killed in the crash. Comedians Ardie Fuqua, Harris Stanton, and Morgan’s assistant, Jeff Millea were also injured in the accident.Roper has been indicted on first-degree aggravated manslaughter, second-degree vehicular homicide and third-degree aggravated assault charges. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
An National Transportation Safety Board investigation found that Roper hadn’t slept before the crash. It also indicated that he failed to slow down before the crash. Traveling at 65 mph even though there were signs telling the drivers to slow down to 45 mph due to construction on the Turnpike.
Recovery was long for Morgan, but he’s since returned to performing on TV and movies. He’s currently on a national tour with his Picking Up the Pieces tour. Morgan is also scheduled to appear at the New York Comedy Festival on November 5th at Carnegie Hall, just days before Roper’s hearing.
Morgan reached a confidential settlement in his lawsuit against Walmart last year. Walmart also reached a settlement with McNair’s two children.