Comedian/actor Tracy Morgan, who was recently released from the rehab center where he was recovering from serious injuries sustained in a deadly limo bus crash in June, is suing Walmart, according to CNN. The accident was caused by Walmart truck driver Kevin Roper, who rear-ended the limo bus as he drove 20 miles over the speed limit, seriously injuring Morgan and two other passengers and killing another passenger, 62-year-old comedian James McNair, CNN writes.
As Reuters writes in the Chicago Tribune:
On Thursday, the actor filed a lawsuit claiming that Wal-Mart truck driver Roper commuted more than 700 miles from his Georgia home to a company distribution facility in Delaware before beginning his work shift, and that he had been awake for over 24 hours prior to the crash.
The lawsuit alleges that Walmart knew, or should have known, that Roper was not in compliance with federal regulations created to prevent accidents caused by drowsy driving, Reuters writes. Roper was charged in June with vehicular homicide and assault-by-auto following the June 7 crash near Cranbury, N.J. Roper pleaded not guilty to those charges, Reuters notes.
Walmart released a statement saying the crash was a “terrible tragedy” and wished full recoveries to Morgan and the two passengers injured with him, comedian Ardley Fuqua and Morgan’s personal assistant, Jeffrey Millea, CNN writes. Millea’s wife, Krista, is the fourth plaintiff in the lawsuit, CNN reports.
In the statement, Walmart said:
Our thoughts continue to go out to them, their families and friends, as well as to the families and friends of everyone involved, including Mr. McNair who lost his life.
Walmart said the company is “deeply sorry” that one of its trucks was involved in the accident, and that it is cooperating fully in the investigation. The company is “committed to doing the right thing for all involved,” the statement said.
Morgan, 45, suffered broken ribs, a broken nose, and a broken leg in the crash, CNN writes. Now that he has been released from a rehabilitation center, he will continue his recovery at home, with “an aggressive outpatient program,” according to his spokesperson Lewis Kay, as CNN writes.
This blog has written that the crash will likely draw attention to the Senate Appropriation Committee’s move to weaken federal safety rules for trucks. Jeff Plungis wrote for InsuranceJournal.com that if Congress goes along with the committee’s move, it would defeat a 15-year effort to reduce truck accidents caused by drowsy driving, as this blog reported in another post.
One of the many commenters to the CNN article, Quantez Williams, writes that truckers should stay in the slow (right) lane. And someone posting simply as “bill” (who says he used to drive a truck) writes:
You never are suppose to drive faster than your vision ahead allows you stopping in time. It isn’t rocket science, it is pure common sense. That is standard operating procedure for any vehicle, but when you get behind the wheel of a big truck, you have the added responsibility of operating a vehicle that weights 80,000 lbs and will kill anything it hits.
Image by David Shankbone