Wednesday, January 28, 2015

NTSB: Driver speeding, on duty for 13 hours before crash with Tracy Morgan's limo

The Wal-Mart truck driver involved in a crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that killed one person and seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan was speeding and had been on duty for more than 13 hours at the time of the collision, federal officials said today.

In its preliminary report on the June 7 crash near Cranbury, the National Transportation Safety Board said trucker Kevin Roper was driving 65 m.p.h. in a 45 m.p.h. construction zone when he crashed into the rear of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter limo van carrying Morgan and six others.

Morgan was seriously hurt in the 1 a.m. accident, suffering a broken leg, nose and ribs, among other injuries. Comedian James McNair was killed. Roper is facing charges of death by auto and assault by auto and has pleaded not guilty.

Electronic driver logs show Roper had been on duty for 13 hours and 32 minutes at the time of the crash, just shy of the maximum 14-hour consecutive duty period for commercial drivers, according to the NTSB's report.

He had logged nine hours and 37 minutes of driving time during that period, making deliveries and pickups in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania since he started work at 11:22 a.m. on June 6, the report said.

Roper, 35, had left a Wal-Mart facility near Bristol and was en route to another center in Perth Amboy, N.J., when the crash happened. 

The NTSB said investigators are continuing to analyze the driver's activities and "the amount of rest he received" in the hours and days before the crash. Roper had reportedly not slept in 24 hours prior to the collision.


Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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