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Grand jury to decide fate of trucker in Tracy Morgan crash

/ 01:21 PM December 23, 2015
Kevin Roper

In this June 11, 2014 file photo, Kevin Roper leaves a court appearance in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, the truck driver who slammed into a limo carrying actor Tracy Morgan, killing one man and severely injuring the comedian, will ask a judge next week to throw out criminal charges against him. Within days of the accident, Roper was charged in state court with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto, though as of Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, he hadn’t been indicted, said his attorney, David Glassman. AP FILE PHOTO

NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey — A grand jury is set to decide whether to indict the truck driver who slammed into a limo carrying Tracy Morgan, killing one man and severely injuring the comedian.

That was revealed Tuesday in a court hearing where an attorney for Kevin Roper sought to have charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto thrown out. The Jonesboro, Georgia, man was driving a Wal-Mart truck in June 2014 when he crashed into Morgan’s limo van, killing comedian James McNair and seriously injured Morgan and others.

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An assistant Middlesex County prosecutor told the judge that a county grand jury would release its findings Wednesday, NJ.com (http://bit.ly/1ZnZARK ) reported.

Roper’s lawyer, David Glassman, wants the charges dismissed, citing what he said was unfair pretrial publicity generated by Morgan’s multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Wal-Mart.

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Morgan settled with Wal-Mart this summer for an undisclosed amount. Roper wasn’t a defendant in that lawsuit, but he filed motions in federal court seeking to have it delayed until after his criminal case was resolved. Those motions were rejected.

READ: Tracy Morgan now in fair condition after crash

Glassman told The Associated Press last week that he faulted the Middlesex County prosecutor’s office for not stepping in and seeking a stay in the federal lawsuit.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded in August that Roper hadn’t slept during the previous 28 hours before the crash, a finding Glassman has disputed.

The report concluded Roper failed to slow down immediately before the crash, despite posted warning signs on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury.

The board also faulted Morgan and other passengers in the limo van for not wearing seat belts and adjusting headrests, which it said contributed to the severity of their injuries when the limo was struck from behind.

READ: Comedian Tracy Morgan injured in fatal crash

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TAGS: assault by auto, crash, jury, Trace Morgan, truck driver, vehicular homicide
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