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Trucker In Tracy Morgan Crash Pleads Not Guilty In Middlesex County, N.J. Court

Kevin Roper appeared in state Superior Court in New Brunswick to face death-by-auto and assault-by-auto charges, according to The Journal News.

Kevin Roper/State Police
Kevin Roper/State Police

The trucker charged in fatal crash that critically injured actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and killed a Peekskill N.Y. man pleaded not guilty Wednesday in court in New Brunswick, N.J.

Kevin Roper, 35, of JonesboroGa. appeared in state Superior Court in New Brunswick to face death-by-auto and assault-by-auto charges; a judge kept his bail at $50,000, according to The Journal-News.

Rope allegedly didn't sleep for 24 hours before the crash, according to NJ.com. Roper was released from custody on Saturday after posting $50,000 bail.

Morgan, former star of T.V.'s Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock, remained in critical condition this week but was more responsive after he was nearly killed in a New Jersey Turnpike car crash, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Morgan's fiancée, Megan, has been at his side and has asked that the media await official word through before speculating on his condition.

The Cranbury, N.J. crash on Saturday killed a James "Uncle Jimmy Mack" McNair, 63, of Peekskill, N.Y., while two others - a 36-year-old man from SheltonCt. and a 43-year-old man from Jersey City - remained in condition at Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center, said Zenaida Mendez, spokeswoman for the hospital.

Morgan, 45, was "more responsive" at Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center in New Brunswick after sustaining a broken leg, a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs, said his publicist, Lewis Kay.

The actor-comedian had surgery earlier Sunday on his leg.

"We expect him to remain in the hospital for several weeks," Kay said. "His family is tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans."

Morgan's limo bus overturned in a Saturday morning collision on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury, N.J. that killed McNair, a passenger. The remaining passenger was treated at the hospital and was released.

Roper was charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto after the tractor-trailer he was driving crashed into the van at 1 a.m. Saturday, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

Roper surrendered at the New Jersey State Police Cranbury Station at 7 p.m. Sunday and was initially lodged in the Middlesex County Jail in North Brunswick Saturday.

Walmart released a statement to the media saying the department-store chain is "profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved" and that the company will cooperate fully with law enforcement.

“The facts are continuing to unfold. If it’s determined that our truck caused the accident, Walmart will take full responsibility," according to a statement reported on Business Insider.

A preliminary investigation determined that the tractor-trailer crashed into the van, a 2012 Mercedes Sprinter, as both vehicles traveled in the northbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike. Four other vehicles were involved in the crash. None of the occupants of those vehicles was injured, according to the prosecutor's office. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the New Jersey State Police Detective Bureau at the Troop D Station in Cranbury at 609-860-9000, extension 4400.

Various reports from ABC News and elsewhere provided new details on the crash, noting that Morgan allegedly screamed for help after his limo bus overturned.

willie 6 June 12, 2014 at 08:03 AM
Hey JS. the PATCH lost it a long time ago.better to read LOCAL news .
Wwe Tensai June 12, 2014 at 09:57 AM
Walmart says " if our truck was involved..." Duh! I know they're headquartered in Arkansas but are they really that stupid? Your truck rear-ended another vehicle. Yeah, that means it was "involved".
Greg June 12, 2014 at 10:51 AM
Prayers for all involved. Was anyone wearing a seatbelt?????? my guess is no
Heywood June 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM
How many accidents happen with no follow-up reporting at all? Why is this such a big deal?
Adolfo Longo June 21, 2014 at 10:19 AM
It was an accident people.. GET OVER IT!!!!!!

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