Tragedy struck on the New Jersey Turnpike over the weekend when a truck caused a six-vehicle pile up, killing one and injuring four – among them actor/comedian Tracy Morgan, who was returning from a stand-up comedy show in Delaware.
Reports indicate that the incident occurred early on Saturday morning at 1 a.m. when an apparently drowsy truck driver failed to notice traffic slowing in front of him on the Turnpike in Mercer County, New Jersey. The driver swerved to avoid a collision, but overturned his truck and struck the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter limo-bus that was carrying Morgan and his entourage.
The injured were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, a teaching hospital affiliated with the Rutgers medical school, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Morgan was listed there in critical condition, as was his assistant Jeff Millea. Ardie Fuqua and Harris Stanton, who were also traveling with Morgan, were also injured in the collision. However James "Jimmy Mac" McNair, a longtime friend of Morgan's, was killed.
Tracy Morgan, of course, is an actor/comedian best known for his roles on Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. He and his entourage were returning home from a show entitled "Turn it Funny" at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware. 1,500 fans came out for the show Friday night, in which Fuqua was opening for Morgan.
The driver of the Peterbilt 18-wheeler tractor-trailer with Oklahoma plates was identified as Kevin Roper, age 35, of Jonesboro, Georgia. He was reportedly driving a truck for Walmart, and has been charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto.
Our hearts go out to McNair's friends and family, and hope that the injured will make a full recovery soon.