Wal-Mart Truck Driver Pleads Guilty in Deadly New Jersey Turnpike Crash That Injured Tracy Morgan

The driver in the 2014 crash that injured actor Tracy Morgan pleaded guilty Tuesday.

Kevin Roper, 37, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and four counts of aggravated assault for the June 7, 2014 crash.

Under the terms of his plea, Roper will enter a pre-trial intervention program that will allow him to avoid prison for the time being. If Roper completes the 36-month program, which includes community service and other conditions, the charges will be dismissed. If not, he faces possible jail time. 

Roper was driving a Wal-Mart truck in June 2014 when he crashed into Morgan's van on the New Jersey Turnpike. The group was returning from Morgan's show in Delaware.

The 37-year-old Jonesboro, Georgia, resident had also faced an aggravated manslaughter count, which is punishable by a 10-to-30-year prison term on conviction. Vehicular homicide carries a 10-year maximum prison sentence.

Comedian James McNair died and Morgan and three other passengers were injured in the crash. Morgan suffered a broken leg, broken ribs and head injuries.

The former "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live" star made his first public appearance after the accident in June 2015 and made a surprise appearance at the Emmys three months later.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. settled separate lawsuits in 2015 brought by Morgan and by McNair's two children.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board concluded Roper hadn't slept in the 28 hours before the crash, a finding his attorney disputed.

The report concluded Roper failed to slow down immediately before the crash despite posted warning signs on the turnpike where construction work was in progress. It found the truck was going 65 mph in a 45 mph zone until about 200 feet before impact.

The board also faulted Morgan and other passengers in the limo van for not wearing seat belts and for adjusting headrests, which it said contributed to the severity of their injuries when the limo was struck from behind. [[238904721, C]]

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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