Entertainment & Arts

Driver in Tracy Morgan crash 'not slept' in 24 hours

Tracy Morgan Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Morgan spent seven years on Saturday Night Live, and was Emmy-nominated for his role on 30 Rock

The driver of the lorry involved in a fatal crash that injured comedian Tracy Morgan had not slept for more than 24 hours, according to court papers.

Walmart driver Kevin Roper, 35, from Georgia, has been charged with death by auto, and is due in court on Wednesday.

Mr Morgan is improving but still critical after the multi-vehicle crash on a New Jersey highway on Saturday.

He is expected to remain in hospital for several weeks but comedian James McNair, known as Jimmy Mack, died.

They were travelling in a limo bus when it was struck by the Wal-Mart lorry.

Morgan, 45, suffered injuries including broken ribs, a broken nose, and a broken leg.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Footage from the scene showed Morgan's limo bus had flipped over

Authorities said Mr Roper, 35 apparently failed to slow for traffic and swerved at the last minute to avoid a crash. Instead, his truck hit the back of the limo bus.

In all, six vehicles were involved in the accident, but no one from the other cars was injured.

In a statement released on Saturday, Walmart president Bill Simon said the company would "take full responsibility" if authorities determined one of its trucks had caused the crash.

"We're praying for the family and friends of the passenger who lost his life in the terrible accident," the statement said.

The driver of Morgan's vehicle, Tyrone Gale said he had been disorientated after his vehicle flipped over, and could hear the passengers in distress.

"I climbed around and heard Tracy screaming for help," he told ABC News.

"I climbed up on the body of the limo bus … but I couldn't reach them."

Morgan's assistant, Jeffrey Millea and comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr were also critically injured in the crash and remain in hospital.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Morgan's characters on Saturday Night Live included Astronaut Jones and Uncle Jemima
Image copyright NBC
Image caption Morgan starred alongside Jane Krakowski, Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey and Jack McBrayer in 30 Rock

Morgan was a series regular on Saturday Night Live for seven years and earned an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor for his role in the sitcom 30 Rock.

He is known for his outrageous impressions, including Mike Tyson and Oprah Winfrey, but struggled with alcoholism.

During one notorious live TV appearance in Texas, he removed his shirt and announced "someone's gonna get pregnant".

After being arrested twice for drink driving and ordered to wear an ankle monitoring device, Morgan said it took tough talk from his then-teenage son to sober him up.

He found an ally in fellow Saturday Night Live star Tina Fey, who wrote Morgan into her sitcom 30 Rock, playing an exaggerated version of himself, called Tracy Jordan.

Fey described his character as a "lunatic comedy star", whose antics frequently threaten to derail a comedy TV show, loosely based on Saturday Night Live.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption 30 Rock ended last year after seven series

Following Saturday's crash, Morgan's 30 Rock co-star Alec Baldwin said: "Let's hope for a full and speedy recovery for Tracy and the others involved in that crash".

Chat show host Conan O'Brien added: "Thinking about Tracy Morgan and his family today. Hoping for a fast recovery for this sweet and uniquely funny man."

Morgan's spokesperson, Lewis Kay, said Morgan's family was "tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans".

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