Trucker Tied to Tracy Morgan Crash Pleads Not Guilty
The driver who was behind the wheel of the tractor-trailer that rear-ended a limo bus carrying comedian Tracy Morgan and five others entered a not guilty plea to all charges in the case.
Roper made a brief appearance in a crowded Middlesex County Courthouse accompanied by his attorney David Glassman who entered the not guilty plea to charges of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. The judge kept his bail at $50,000.
Glassman nor Roper spoke to reporters after the hearing.
Earlier, another passenger that was in Morgan’s limo at the time of the crash has shared his account of the accident.
Comedian Harris Stanton told ABC 7 he was sitting across from Morgan early Saturday night as the group was returning from Dover Downs in Delaware. One moment, said Stanton, the limo bus was filled with conversation and laughter “and the next thing I knew there was crunching metal all around me.”
He recalls being the only one in the limo screaming in the moments after impact. The windows of the limo were blacked out, so they couldn’t see what was happening and had no chance to brace for impact.
“When it stopped, Tracy was on top of me and I didn’t see anyone else. I was just saying, help me, get me out of here, Stanton told ABC 7. The 37-year-old broke his wrist and bruised his ankle. He was released from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick over the weekend.
Roper was driving a Wal-Mart truck early Saturday morning when he allegedly swerved to avoid slowed traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike, and plowed into Morgan’s limo.
The criminal complaint alleges the 35-year-old Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, hadn’t slept for more than 24 hours before the accident. Wal-Mart has said it believes the driver was in compliance with federal safety regulations governing hours of service for commercial truck drivers.
Morgan suffered a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs. His friend and fellow comedian James McNair was killed, and two other passengers were seriously injured.
Morgan underwent surgery for his broken leg and remained in critical but stable condition Tuesday. The comedian’s publicist Lewis Kay has not provided an update on his condition since Monday, when he denied rumors that Morgan’s leg had been amputated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.