Tracy Morgan continues to struggle through recovery from a June auto collision, according to his attorney. The former “Saturday Night Live” actor and comedian was injured when a Wal-Mart truck slammed into a limo bus Morgan was riding in. Comedian James McNair was killed during the crash.
Currently, Morgan is using a wheelchair to get around, and it may be a while before he can walk on his own again, says attorney Benedict Morelli. The accident, which ended up involving six separate cars, left Morgan with a broken nose, leg, and several broken ribs.
Since the crash, the Wal-Mart truck driver, 35-year-old Kevin Roper, has pleaded not guilty to death by auto (one count) and assault by auto (four counts). At the time of the incident, Roper had been driving for 13.5 hours, and was driving at a speed of 65-miles-per-hour in a 45-miles-per-hour zone. Under federal law, truck drivers can work for 14 hours each day — with 11 of those hours spent behind the wheel. Roper had been heading toward Perth Amboy. Had he finished his route, it’s possible he would have reached his 14-hour limit before reaching his destination.
Along with three other plaintiffs, Morgan filed a personal injury lawsuit against Wal-Mart, which is listed as a defendant in the case. They are asking for both punitive and compensatory damages. Morelli believes that Wal-Mart fosters a work culture in which drivers are encouraged to work over 14 hour shifts.
Walmart’s released statement about the crash has, not surprisingly, contained no admittance or denial of guilt, saying in part that, “We know it will take some time to resolve all of the remaining issues as a result of the accident, but we’re committed to doing the right thing for all involved.”
The case, for many, has shed light on safety statistics that often remain hidden or ignored. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, auto accidents cost the average person $900 each year, regardless of whether they are personally involved in a crash. And every year, over 50,000 accidents involving trucks occur — many of them the result of driver fatigue.