NTSB to Determine Cause of Tracy Morgan Commercial Truck Crash on Tuesday Morning

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Since his June 2014 accident involving a large commercial truck, Tracy Morgan has largely stayed out of the spotlight and has not acted or performed. However, in a recent media interview, Mr. Morgan broke his silence and appeared on Today to be interviewed by Matt Lauer. During the interview, Mr. Morgan  revealed the physical and emotional toll the accident has taken on him and continues to take each and every day. Mr. Morgan stated that he is still working on coping with the effects of his severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

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He said, “There are times where I have my good day and my bad days, where I forget things. There are times where I get the headaches, and the nose bleeds. I won’t even let my lady know because I don’t want her to be worried about it.”

Aside from the physical damage Mr. Morgan suffered – which also included  several broken ribs and a broken leg – Mr. Morgan also talked about the loss of his friend. He remarked that the pain would always be there for his friend, James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, who was killed in the commercial truck accident. Two other passengers also suffered serious, severe injuries in the crash.

Federal Investigators Meeting to Determine Final Cause for Rear-end Truck Collision

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) members are slated to meet at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the multi-vehicle crash that occurred near Cranbury, New Jersey. In all, the accident affected more than 21 people occupying six vehicles. The meeting is scheduled to be webcast live. The webcast can be accessed from the following NTSB page where a link to the webcast should appear roughly 30 minutes prior to the meeting.

Findings of the preliminary NTSB investigation found that 2011 Peterbuilt truck driven by Kevin Roper was traveling at more than 20 miles over the speed limit for the previous 60 seconds when it collided into the rear of the 2012 Mercedes Sprinter carrying Morgan and others. The speed limit on that stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike had been lowered from 55 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour due to construction. After colliding with the Sprinter, both vehicles continued to move forward causing secondary impacts with a number of other vehicles. The Mercedes limo rolled over several times over before coming to rest on its left side.

The investigation also uncovered that on the morning prior to the fatal accident, Roper went on duty at 11:22 a.m. on June 6. During the course of the day, he successfully complete deliveries in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.  At roughly 12:20 a.m. the following day, Mr. Roper departed from a Walmart trucking facility in Bristol, Pennsylvania with cargo intended for a Perth Amboy, New Jersey facility. Approximately 30 miles after departing from the Bristol distribution center, the commercial truck accident occurred.

The NTSB stated that Mr. Roper had logged 9 hours and 37 minutes of driving time when the crash occurred. With respect to the, since repealed, 14-hour consecutive driving window, NTSB stated that Mr. Roper had accumulated 13 hours and 32 minutes towards that limit. Investigators have stated that they are analyzing records for discrepancies and additional information. They have also stated that they are inquiring into the amount of rest Mr. Roper had gotten in the days immediately preceding the crash. While the initial investigation placed Mr. Roper just under the limit for consecutive driving, these results are likely to be addressed during Tuesday’s NTSB meeting. In any case, Mr. Roper already faces criminal charges in New Jersey for his alleged role in the crash.

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Criminal Complaint Alleges: Truck Driver Was Awake for More than 24 Hours

Since 2003, New Jersey has been the only state in the nation to explicitly criminalize fatigued driving. That is, under New Jersey law, a driver of a personal or commercial vehicle can face charges for assault by auto if he or she causes injury after knowingly operating a car, truck, or other vehicle after being awake for more than 24 hours. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5, recklessness by the driver is presumed when a driver knowingly gets behind the wheel when he or she has not slept in the past 24 hours. If the driver causes a fatal accident, he or she can be charged with vehicular homicide. If severe injuries are the result of the fatigued driving, then assault by auto charges may be filed.  In all, Mr. Roper faces four counts of assault by auto and one count of vehicular manslaughter.

Rely on Our Commercial Truck Accident Experience

While Congress may be jockeying regarding hours-of-service regulations for commercial truckers, New Jersey law already contains some safeguards designed to discourage fatigued drivers from setting out on the roads for personal or commercial purposes. Fatigued drivers are drivers who increase the risk of accident and injury for all motorists in the immediate vicinity. If you have been severely injured by a fatigued driver, contact the experienced Philadelphia truck accident attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm today. To schedule a free and confidential personal injury consultation call (215) 246-9000 or contact us online today.

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