The Walmart driver involved in the six-vehicle car crash that left comedian Tracy Morgan in critical condition was reportedly speeding in the moments prior to the June 7th wreck, according to a preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report released on Thursday, the The New York Times reports. Kevin Roper, 35, was driving 65 mph in a 45 mph zone moments before his tractor-trailer crashed into a limousine van transporting Morgan and a group of his friends, killing one (comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair") and leaving Morgan with broken ribs, a broken nose and a broken leg.
Roper's speed was calculated using the truck's electronic engine-control system, and Walmart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan notes that the company's trucks use devices that limit their speed to 65 mph. The board's investigators are still investigating Roper's activities in the days before the crash; the report notes that Roper had not violated federal rules limiting truck drivers a maximum of 14 hours of work per day (with 11 hours of driving); Roper had been on duty for roughly 13-and-a-half hours when the crash took place.
Meanwhile, a representative for Morgan has issued a statement to People, stating that the comedian "has been transferred to an undisclosed rehab center, where he is expected to remain for the next few weeks," following a nine-day stint in a New Jersey hospital (with his condition upgraded to "fair"). "While he is continuing to show signs of improvement, he still has a long way to go," the statement continues. On Monday, hospital officials noted that Jersey City comedian Ardie Fuqua was still in critical condition.
Last week, Roper pleaded not guilty on charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto.
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