'Terrible accident' recounted in 911 tapes of Tracy Morgan crash

NEW YORK Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:33pm EDT

Actor Tracy Morgan speaks during the taping of the Spike TV special tribute ''Eddie Murphy: One Night Only'' at the Saban theatre in Beverly Hills, California November 3, 2012.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Actor Tracy Morgan speaks during the taping of the Spike TV special tribute ''Eddie Murphy: One Night Only'' at the Saban theatre in Beverly Hills, California November 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

Related Topics

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A woman who witnessed a multicar collision on a New Jersey highway that critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed one of his associates called 911 to report a "terrible accident," according to audio recordings released on Tuesday.

"There's a terrible accident. The car flipped. It's on its side," the unidentified woman told an emergency operator moments after the early Saturday crash in which a Wal-Mart tractor trailer slammed into a limousine van carrying Morgan and several other people.

"There was an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. It happened behind us," another caller said in 911 recordings released by the New Jersey State Police.

Morgan, 45, best known for his roles on "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live," and two other people riding in the van were critically injured and remained in a critical-care unit on Tuesday, said a spokeswoman at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Comic James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, 62, a writing partner of Morgan's who was also in the van, died at the scene.

A fifth passenger was lightly hurt and released from the hospital.

Morgan's injuries included a broken leg, nose and ribs and he underwent surgery over the weekend, his spokesman Lewis Kay said in a statement Monday.

Kay dismissed online rumors that Morgan's leg had to be amputated.

"Rumors about amputating his leg are completely fabricated," the statement said.

The driver of the Wal-Mart truck, Kevin Roper, 35, has been charged with vehicular homicide and injury by auto for operating his commercial vehicle after not having slept for more than 24 hours, resulting in the fatal crash, according to prosecutors.

He is due to appear in Middlesex County Superior Court on Wednesday.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Tuesday that its 7,175 drivers meet some of the highest safety standards in the industry.

So-called drowsy driving, or driving with too little sleep, causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Scott Malone, Eric Beech and Gunna Dickson)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
BeRealistic wrote:
Who will be the first to blame this on Wal-mart?

Jun 10, 2014 12:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamVee wrote:
We’ve all done it at one time or another! Every single one of us.

We know how dangerous it is but some of us keep doing it anyway. The scope of the possible tragedy gets larger, along with the size of the vehicle we are driving.

Jun 10, 2014 12:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.