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NTSB report: Truck hit Tracy Morgan’s limo at 65 MPH

Three-dimensional scan of the Mercedes-Benz limo van carrying Tracy Morgan and 6 others involved with an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike
Three-dimensional scan of the Mercedes-Benz limo van carrying Tracy Morgan and 6 others involved with an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike (NTSB)

The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) preliminary report on the tractor trailer accident on the New Jersey Turnpike involving comedian Tracy Morgan  reveals that trucker Kevin Roper rear-ended the limo van carrying Morgan and 6 others at a speed of nearly 65 MPH.

Three-dimensional scan of the Peterbilt combination vehicle involved in the Tracy Morgan Turnpike crash
Three-dimensional scan of the Peterbilt combination vehicle involved in the Tracy Morgan Turnpike crash (NTSB)

According to the report. Roper’s started work at 11:20 a.m. on Friday, June 6 at a Wal-mart facility in Smyrna, Delaware and made pick-ups and deliveries in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He left a facility in Bristol, Pennsylvania at about 12:20 a.m. on Saturday, June 7 and was headed for Perth Amboy. He had been driving for a total of 13 hours and 32 minutes, just under the 14-hour consecutive duty period for commercial truck drivers. He had been on the job for 9 hours and 37 minutes.

Roper was driving a Peterbilt combination tractor trailer equipped with an electronically controlled Cummins ISX engine that includes an engine control module (ECM), a kind of “black box” for trucks that tracks speed and other granular information about the engine such as throttle percentage and brake circuit status.

Laser imaging of the ECM reveals Roper was driving at 65 MPH through a construction zone on the northbound turnpike in Cranbury where the speed was posted at 45 MPH in the right and center lanes. Roper was driving at 65 MPH one minute before rear-ending the limo van, which flipped onto its left side in the turnpike’s center and right lanes from the impact. A total of six vehicles were involved in the incident.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. trucks are equipped with devices that limit the vehicles’ speed to 65 mph, a spokeswoman said, so Roper was going at the top speed possible.

Drivers are required to follow the posted speed limit under Wal-Mart policy, spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said Thursday. “Of course we expect our drivers to comply with the laws, whether it’s a speed limit, or (something else),” she said.

She otherwise declined to comment on the report, citing the ongoing investigation.

Roper is charged with charges of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto; he pleaded not guilty in Middlesex County Superior Court and posted $50,000 bail.

Morgan remains hospitalized in fair condition at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick recovering from his injuries including a broken leg, a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs. Publicist Lewis Kay says the 45-year-old personality is “certainly starting to come back as well,” Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea, of Shelton, Connecticut, has also been upgraded to fair condition, Kay said. Hospital officials said comedian Ardie Fuqua, of Jersey City, remains in critical condition.

Read the full NTSB preliminary report

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