Breaking News Emails
A grand jury has indicted the Wal-Mart trucker behind a fatal crash on the New Jersey Turnpike last year that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan.
The driver, Kevin Roper, was indicted Wednesday on charges of aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and eight counts of aggravated assault. On June 7, 2014, he smashed into Morgan's limo van, killing comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair.
Morgan, 47, suffered a serious brain injury and broken bones, and he was in a coma for two weeks.
Roper's attorney had tried unsuccessfully to have charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto thrown out. His lawyer, David Glassman, argued that Wal-Mart's settlement of Morgan's lawsuit generated publicity that harmed the Jonesboro, Georgia, resident's chance for a fair trial.
Glassman told The Associated Press last week that he faulted the Middlesex County, New Jersey, prosecutor's office for not stepping in and seeking a stay in the federal lawsuit.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigation found in August that Roper hadn't slept during the previous 28 hours before the crash — a finding Glassman has disputed.
The report concluded Roper failed to slow down immediately before the crash, despite posted warning signs on the turnpike.
The board also faulted Morgan and other passengers in the limo van for not wearing seat belts and adjusting headrests, which it said contributed to the severity of their injuries when the limo was struck from behind.
Morgan has made a comeback in recent months, making a surprise appearance at the Emmy Awards in September and then hosting "Saturday NIght Live," where he was a cast member for eight seasons, in October.
In a June interview with TODAY's Matt Lauer, a tearful Morgan opened up about the future of his career.
"I wonder how I'm gonna be funny again," Morgan said. "Remembering my identity — what do I do?"