Trucker in Tracy Morgan crash indicted on homicide, assault charges

| December 23, 2015
The Walmart Transportation truck following the June 2014 crash.

The Walmart Transportation truck following the June 2014 crash.

Kevin Roper, the truck driver at the center of the fatal June 2014 tractor-trailer crash involving actor Tracy Morgan, has been indicted on the manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges brought against him in the aftermath of the crash, court records show.

The crash, which happened on the New Jersey Turnpike on June 7 last year, left comedian James McNair dead and Morgan and several others critically injured. Roper, a Walmart driver, fell asleep at the wheel in the moments preceding the crash, said the National Transportation Safety Board in two separate reports.

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Roper was indicted this week on charges of 1st degree aggravated manslaughter, 2nd degree vehicular homicide and seven counts of 3rd and 4th degree aggravated assault.

Walmart has settled all civil suits stemming from the crash, including undisclosed settlements with the family of McNair and with Morgan and the others injured in the crash.

The NTSB concluded in its investigation, the report for which was released this August, that Roper was traveling about 20 mph over the posted 45 mph speed limit and had been awake for 28 or 29 hours out of 33 hours prior to the crash, per NTSB’s investigation.

Roper failed to react when he approached traffic moving at about 10 mph, NTSB says. Roper had driven about 800 miles in his personal car from Georgia to Delaware the night before he began his on-duty driving period.

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He and his attorney in September asked for the New Jersey court overseeing the case to drop the charges, given the media attention the case has received. The attention, Roper’s legal team argued, made it impossible for him to receive a fair trial. Reports indicate the court is set to make a decision on Roper’s request in January.

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