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Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was critically injured Saturday when the limousine bus he was riding in was involved in a deadly big-rig accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.
One man was killed and three other people were injured when a Walmart truck rammed the bus that was carrying Morgan and others, causing it to flip. According to Reuters, a spokesman for Morgan said the actor was "more responsive" a day after the crash, but remained in critical condition with broken ribs, a broken leg, a broken nose, and several other injuries.
Investigators on Monday said the driver of the Walmart truck hadn't slept in more than 24 hours. What criminal charges is the trucker facing, and could Walmart potentially be held liable for the crash?
The driver of the truck, 35-year-old Kevin Roper, turned himself in following the crash and was charged with vehicular homicide, otherwise known as "death by auto." Comedian James McNair was killed in the crash.
Roper was also charged with four counts of assault by auto for the injuries sustained by Morgan and the other occupants of the bus.
As reported by CNN, Roper had been awake for more than 24 hours at the time of the accident. Under the New Jersey criminal code, vehicular homicide is criminal when it is caused by driving a vehicle recklessly. Under the statute, "proof that the defendant fell asleep while driving or was driving after having been without sleep for a period in excess of 24 consecutive hours may give rise to an inference" of recklessness.
Alongside Roper's criminal charges, it's highly likely that the accident will lead to a civil truck accident lawsuit as well, which typically includes both the driver and the company the truck was being driven for, in this case retail giant Walmart.
As reported by the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Walmart CEO Bob Simon said the company will accept responsibility for the accident if Roper is found to be at fault. "If it's determined that our truck caused the accident, Walmart will take full responsibility," Simon told the paper.
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