Tracy Morgan In Critical Condition After 6-Car Crash
UPDATED: Three passengers are critically injured, another man dead in New Jersey Turnpike accident. Morgan's family is at hospital where the comedian is receiving care.
30 Rock actor Tracy Morgan was hospitalized in intensive care on Saturday after the Mercedes limousine bus in which he was a passenger was overturned as part of a six-car vehicle accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, authorities said.
One man, James McNair, 62, was killed in the vehicle accident while three others who also were in the limo were in critical condition, confirmed New Jersey State Police Sgt. First Class Gregory Williams to The Hollywood Reporter. Comedians Harris Stanton and Ardie Fuqua, who were passengers in Morgan's limo, were hospitalized as well.
The accident occurred after the driver of a tractor trailer "failed to observe slow moving traffic ahead of him" and swerved into Morgan's chauffeured limo in an attempt to avoid hitting vehicles, Williams told THR. That caused a "chain reaction" that resulted in an accident involving six vehicles.
The truck driver, Kevin Roper, 35, was charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office stated on Saturday afternoon. His bail was set at $50,000.
"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," the prosecutor's office stated in a news release. "Four other vehicles subsequently were involved in the crash. None of the occupants of those vehicles was injured."
Within the hour after the 1 a.m. crash, Morgan, 45, and another man, Jeffrey Millea, were flown by a New Jersey state police helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Center in New Brunswick, N.J., Williams said.
In a statement, Morgan's rep Lewis Kay said that the comedian's family was at the hospital with him.
"Tracy remains in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. He sustained these injuries in an accident that occurred early this morning as one of several passengers in a chauffeured SUV returning from a tour date in Delaware," the statement read. "His family is now with him and he is receiving excellent care. We don’t anticipate much of a change in his condition today but will provide a further update once more information becomes available."
On Saturday, Wal-Mart issued a statement saying one of its trucks was involved in the accident and that it was working with law enforcement agencies.
"The facts are continuing to unfold. If it’s determined that our truck caused the accident, Walmart will take full responsibility," the statement reads in part. "Safety is our absolute highest priority, but that is no comfort whatsoever to the families and friends who are suffering today. We offer them our deepest condolences. We can’t change what happened, but we will do what’s right for the family of the victim and the survivors in the days and weeks ahead."
The crash occurred in the northbound lanes of the Cranbury Township section of the turnpike near mile marker 71.5. Williams told The Associated Press that two tractor-trailers, a sports utility vehicle and two cars, along with Morgan's limo bus, were involved in the accident.
Fuqua, who opened for Morgan on the stand-up tour on Friday, posted an image from inside a Mercedes Sprinter SUV. The driver of the limousine "did not sustain life-threatening injuries," according to a statement by the Delaware limo company Atlantic Transportation Services.
Morgan had been on his "Turn It Funny" stand up tour and had performed in Delaware on Friday night. His scheduled performance at the Fillmore Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C. Saturday night was canceled.
The comedian joined Saturday Night Live in 1996 and was on the sketch-comedy program for seven years before leaving to star in The Tracy Morgan Show in 2003. That NBC series lasted just one season. In 2006, Morgan found a long-running role in NBC's hit show 30 Rock, which was created by SNL co-star Tina Fey.
The New Jersey Turnpike was closed for more than five hours after the crash before reopening at about 6:30 a.m.