(Updates with Wal-Mart statement)
By Victoria Cavaliere and David Jones
NEW YORK/NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., June 9 A Wal-Mart
truck driver charged in the fatal New Jersey traffic accident
that left comedian Tracy Morgan critically injured had not slept
in more than 24 hours, according to a criminal complaint filed
Kevin Roper, a Wal-Mart employee who was driving a
company tractor trailer at the time of the crash, has been
charged with one count of vehicular homicide and three counts of
injury by auto, according to the criminal complaint filed in
Middlesex County Court.
Roper, 35, had not slept "in excess of 24 hours," a criminal
violation of New Jersey state law, the complaint said. He is
expected to make his first court appearance on Wednesday.
Wal-Mart said it believes Roper was operating "within the
federal hours of service regulations," according to a statement
released by spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan. The company did not
respond to a request for Roper's itinerary.
Morgan, best known for his roles on "30 Rock" and "Saturday
Night Live," remained in critical but stable condition on
Monday, recovering from a broken leg, ribs and nose, his
spokesman Lewis Kay said in a statement.
"His fiancée Megan is by his side. This recovery will be
arduous," the statement said.
Comic James McNair, 62, who performed under the name "Jimmy
Mack," died at the scene. Two other passengers in the van were
also in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson University
Hospital Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey, said spokeswoman
State police said Roper failed to see traffic slowing in
front of him as he drove on the New Jersey Turnpike early on
Saturday near Cranbury Township. His truck slammed into the limo
bus carrying Morgan, 45, and several other comics and friends,
who were coming from a performance in Delaware.
The impact flipped the Mercedes limo on its roof and caused
a chain-reaction crash involving four other vehicles.
Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, was unhurt in the crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said
driving with too little sleep causes more than 100,000 crashes a
year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths.
Operators of commercial vehicles are restricted to driving a
maximum of 11 hours a day after spending a minimum of 10 hours
off duty, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
In its statement, Wal-Mart said its 7,175 drivers must meet
some of the highest safety standards in the industry. The
statement did not list the number of accidents involving
A CBS News report, which cited federal data, said that
Wal-Mart trucks have been involved in 380 crashes over the last
two years, leading to nine deaths and 129 injuries.
(Editing by Edith Honan and Jim Loney)