A truck driver from Georgia has been charged with death by auto in connection with a crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that killed one man and injured four others, including actor and comedian Tracy Morgan.
Middlesex County prosecutors say 35-year-old Kevin Roper of Jonesboro also faces four counts of assault by auto stemming from the crash, which occurred around 1 a.m. Saturday. His bail was set at $50,000.
Roper's tractor-trailer allegedly rammed into a chauffeured limousine bus that Morgan was riding in. That set off a chain-reaction crash that left one member of his entourage dead and two others seriously hurt.
Morgan and the two others remained hospitalized in critical condition Saturday night.
Early reports say a tractor-trailer came upon slow-moving traffic in the northbound lanes at Exit 7A near Cranbury Township and was unable to stop in time, hitting and then flipping Morgan's van, state police told Philadelphia's NBC10. Another semi was caught up in the accident, along with an SUV and two cars.
"His family is now with him and he is receiving excellent care," his representative, Lewis Kay, said in a statement issued Saturday. "We don't anticipate much of a change in his condition today but will provide a further update once more information becomes available."
James McNair, of Peekskill, N.Y., a passenger in Morgan's vehicle, died in the crash,Sgt. 1st Class Greg Williams told the Associated Press. In addition to Morgan, two other passengers were in critical condition, and one was listed as fair, he said. The two drivers assigned by Atlantic Transportation Services were not injured.
The limousine company owner, Christopher Thompson, issued a statement Saturday: "Atlantic Transportation Services extends our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to those injured in last night's accident. We also give our sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of the one individual that passed," he said in a written statement. "This is a very difficult time and we appreciate all of the support and well wishes we have received thus far, and we ask that everyone pray for the recovery of those injured. Godspeed to all involved."
Morgan did a stand-up comedy gig Friday night at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware and presumably was on his way back to his home in Bergen County, N.J. Tonight's performance in Charlotte has been canceled.
Morgan joined Saturday Night Live in 1996 and was on the sketch-comedy program for seven years before leaving to star in The Tracy Morgan Show in 2003. That show lasted just one season. In 2006, Morgan found a long-running role in NBC's hit show30 Rock, which was created by SNL co-star Tina Fey.