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Morgan recovering after surgery following crash

Limo Driver 'Heard Tracy Screaming For Help' After Crash

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Tracy Morgan was recovering Sunday, but was expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after having surgery on a broken leg suffered in a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that left two others critically injured and another man dead.

The 45-year-old actor and comedian, a former "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" cast member, remained in critical condition but was "more responsive" Sunday after having surgery for a broken leg, said Morgan's spokesman, Lewis Kay.

Kay said that Morgan also sustained a broken femur, broken nose and several broken ribs and is expected to remain hospitalized for "several weeks." He said that Morgan's family is "tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans."

A Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. Authorities said 35-year-old Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, apparently failed to slow for traffic ahead early Saturday in Cranbury Township and swerved at the last minute to avoid a crash. Instead, his big rig smashed into the back of Morgan's chauffeured Mercedes limo bus, killing comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, authorities said.

Also critically injured were Morgan's assistant, Jeffrey Millea, 36, of Shelton, Connecticut, and comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr., 43, of Jersey City. They remained in critical condition Sunday evening, said Zenaida Mendez, a spokeswoman for Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick. Another passenger, comic Harris Stanton, was treated and released.

Tyrone Gale, who was driving the limo bus, told ABC News that he was disoriented after the vehicle flipped over and could hear Morgan yelling for help.

"I climbed around and heard Tracy screaming for help," Gale said. "I climbed up on the body of the limo bus ... but I couldn't reach them."

Roper, accompanied by his attorney, turned himself in to state police. He was released on $50,000 bail Saturday night and has been placed on administrative leave, Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said Sunday.

Wal-Mart President Bill Simon said in a statement that the company "will take full responsibility" if authorities determine its truck caused the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board is working with state police to look at any issues in the crash related to commercial trucking and limousine safety.

Morgan, a New York City native, was returning from a standup performance at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware when the crash occurred. In all, six vehicles were involved in the pileup, but no one from the other cars was injured.

At a press event Saturday in Los Angeles to promote the upcoming comedy film "Think Like A Man Too," cast members, many of whom have worked and are friends with Morgan, wished him well.

Kevin Hart said he owes much of his success to Morgan, crediting him for paving the way for comics like himself to become successful.

"We just want him to get better and to get back to everyone that loves him and get back to doing what he does best, making people laugh," Hart said.

Fuqua's mother, Doris, said she visited him in the hospital Saturday. The writer-comedian had toured with Morgan for nearly a year, she said, and had opened for him Friday night.

"We're hoping for the best," Doris Fuqua said Sunday, adding that she didn't know how long he may be hospitalized. "It's too early to tell."

McNair, 62, of Peekskill, New York, was a close friend and mentor to Morgan, Morgan's ex-wife, Sabina Morgan, told the New York Daily News. "He was one of the first comedians that took Tracy under his wing," she said. "They were very close."

Royale Watkins, a Los Angeles-based comedian who said he had performed in New York clubs with Morgan and McNair, described McNair as having a big personality.

"There may be guys like Tracy who get the fame and notoriety, but you have people like Jimmy Mack who have kind of energized and fueled cats like Tracy and kept them going on the road," Watkins said.

Join the discussion

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kim June 08 2014 at 7:43 PM

MY husband has been a Wal-Mart truck driver for 20 years and this is so sad. My husband has never had a wreck. Please don't make all Wal-Mart drivers bad.

Flag Reply +69 rate up
17 replies
Danny June 08 2014 at 7:35 PM

A Federal Investigation Huh?? Sorry for wreck. Here in Georgia we had a wreck with the loss of one life caused by a black woman, who happened to be out on bail for causing another wreck where a man was killed. The wreck happened Sunday and she was again out on bail Tuesday ,No Federal Investigation????? All life is important or is it????????

Flag +64 rate up
50 replies
alanam1947 June 08 2014 at 7:58 PM

Why a Federal Investigation? It was an accident for cryin out loud! Don't the Feds have better things to do? Like get a handle on illegal immigration for one?

Flag Reply +59 rate up
12 replies
sweetbabi3 June 08 2014 at 7:56 PM

Why would this accident have a federal investigation. Are you telling me that of all the hundreds of accidents in any given week, this one warrants an investigation. I have been stuck on I95 for hours and NO federal investigation of those accidents took place. It was 1 in the morning. It was an accident. I think the police are responding to PC and is it because Tracy is black as are the others?

Flag Reply +42 rate up
27 replies
cathyfab21 June 08 2014 at 7:37 PM

Prayers and love for a speedy recovery for all.

Flag Reply +24 rate up
junelee0319 June 08 2014 at 7:33 PM

Wishing you a speedy recovery Tracy

Flag Reply +23 rate up
rufus June 08 2014 at 7:40 PM

seems like we should get rid of cars, on account of these deaths. thats what we need to do according to the idiots in washington.

Flag Reply +20 rate up
10 replies
ktamlyn June 08 2014 at 7:13 PM

Best wishes for a speedy recovery...

Flag Reply +18 rate up
Honeyhush1 June 08 2014 at 7:05 PM

I am glad that Mr. Morgan is recovering.

Flag Reply +18 rate up
3 replies
heart2know32 June 08 2014 at 11:02 PM

My brother is a OTR Truck Driver - they are not all "speed demons", running on no sleep!! More accidents are casued by the idiots in the cars trying to pass that "damn" truck. 60,000+ lbs can't stop when you cut him!! These driver's see every stupid move we car drivers make - and if you drive you see them all the time. Don't be so quick to rush to judgement about who may have caused the accident. To all those injured I wish you a speedy recovery. To the families of those who died my deepest condolences.

Flag Reply +9 rate up
1 reply
Elizabeth heart2know32 June 09 2014 at 5:52 AM

In a rear-end collision, the driver of the vehicle crashing into the back of another is always deemed to be at fault. Drivers are required to have control over their vehicles and to be aware of what is happening in front of them.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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