A Georgia truck driver responsible for the fatal six-vehicle pileup on the New Jersey Turnpike last night that killed one and critically injured four more, including comedian and 2013 Billboard Music Awards host Tracy Morgan, has been charged with one count death by auto and four counts assault by auto, authorities said Saturday.
The Wrap reports that the driver, identified as 35-year-old Kevin Roper of Jonesboro, Ga., was dozing at the wheel when his tractor-trailer veered into Morgan's luxury van, which was traveling in the same direction and flipped in the road, killing James McNair, 63, and hospitalizing four more, including Morgan, 45, an unidentified 36-year-old man from Shelton, Ct., and another unidentified man, 43, from Jersey City. The fourth hospitalized passenger, also unidentified, was treated and has since been released. The van containing Morgan, a 2012 Mercedes Sprinter, originated in Delaware, where Morgan had performed at a casino earlier that evening. The passengers of the other four cars involved in the crash were not seriously injured.
The charges were announced earlier today by Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, who also told reporters that Roper was expected to surrender himself to the authorities and would be held at $50,000 bail. A preliminary investigation by authorities suggested that no drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash.