Update (12:41 p.m. ET): A Twitter user who appears to be Kevin Roper — the truck driver charged in the June 7 multi-vehicle accident in New Jersey that injured 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan and killed comedian James McNair — tweeted a statement responding to the criminal complaint alleging that he had been awake for 24 hours at the time of the accident. Here's his statement, edited for grammar and clarity:
"First off, my prayers go out to all the families that were affected. My prayers [go out] to the man that passed away during the accident (Mr. McNair). I wish it was me, and I can't express how horrible I feel."
"I never said I was awake for 24 hours. Not once did I say that to any law enforcement or media person. These are lies being spread because they are pressured to make an arrest as this accident was being covered nationally because a famous person was involved."
"I was not drunk [or] high. (I was tested and passed.) I had an accident which unfortunately occurred with a lot of media spotlight … Not until all the TV cameras came did the police all of a sudden make a determination I was up 24 hours. (Sounds good and sells papers, also covers their ass.) So, yes, I am now most likely f—ked because I had an unfortunate accident with the wrong car that night."
Original story (6:42 a.m. ET): We already knew the driver of the Wal-Mart truck that caused the six-car pile up that put Tracy Morgan in the hospital and killed passenger and fellow comic James McNair on Saturday, but now, new information from police tells us that trucker Kevin Roper had not slept “in excess of 24 hours.”
A criminal complaint against Kevin said that while he had been awake longer than 24 hours, he may not have been working those 24 hours. And according to The Washington Post, Wal-Mart’s policy is that work shifts max out at 14 hours, including a limit of 11 driving hours. But union president James P. Hoffa says that Kevin might have felt pressured to stay awake in order to meet the demands of his job.
“Not all motor carriers run their drivers to the limit of their hours-of-service, but it does happen,” James said. “Drivers feel pressure from their employers to drive more than 60-70 hours a week with insufficient rest.”
Following the crash, Kevin has been charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. The 35-year-old truck driver will appear in court on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Tracy is still in critical condition, although he is responsive and stable. Sunday, he had surgery on his broken leg — which, contrary to reports, has not been amputated.
We wish Tracy and the two others injured in the crash a speedy recovery. We need Tracy back out there making us laugh again!
Source: The Washington Post