Attorney Defends Trucker in Tracy Morgan Crash

Kevin Roper pleaded not guilty last week to charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The attorney for the truck driver charged in the fatal crash that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and several others released a statement on Friday in response to allegations that his client was speeding at the time of the accident.

    "Mr. Roper will have his day in court, and we remain confident that once all of the facts become known he will be acquitted of the charges," attorney Jay Glassman wrote in a released statement.

    On Thursday, the National Transportation Safety Board claimed 35-year-old Kevin Roper of Jonesboro, Georgia had logged over 13 hours behind the wheel and was driving 65 mph in a 45 mph zone.

    Truck Driver in Tracy Morgan Crash Was Going 65 in 45 MPH Zone: NTSB

    [NY] Truck Driver in Tracy Morgan Crash Was Going 65 in 45 MPH Zone: NTSB
    The truck driver charged in the fatal crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and several others had logged over 13 hours behind the wheel and was driving 65 mph in a 45 mph zone, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board. Jonathan Dienst has more.

    Kevin Roper pleaded not guilty last week to charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto. Roper was driving a Wal-Mart truck on June 7 when he allegedly swerved to avoid slowed traffic on the turnpike and plowed into Morgan's limo.

    "Mr. Roper has entered a plea of not guilty," wrote Glassman. "It was not an artificial exercise, but rather the first step in defending the charges that have been filed against him." 

    The NTSB report stated that Roper had a logged a total of 13 hours and 32 minutes on the job that day. The maximum consecutive duty period allowed for commercial drivers is 14 hours. The report also states that Roper was traveling at 65 mph for 60 seconds preceding the crash in a construction zone where the speed limit had been reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph.

    "The initial investigation results released yesterday by the NTSB have only served to bolster our intention to aggressively defend the matter to the fullest," Glassman wrote.

    A criminal complaint alleges that Roper hadn't slept for more than 24 hours before the accident. Wal-Mart has said it believes he was in compliance with federal safety regulations.

    The 45-year-old 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 his condition was upgraded earlier this week from critical to fair. He was also recently moved from the hospital to a rehab center, according to his publicist.

    "We remain mindful of the victims sand continue to express our deepest sympathies to the family of James McNair, and our heartfelt wishes for a full recovery of those who suffered injuries in the accident," Glassman wrote. "While this case continues to remain in the spotlight, we have no interest in commenting on rumor or speculation, exchanging a news conference for a jury, or sacrificing Mr. Roper's presumption of innocence for a sound bite. The lives of all of those affected deserve more than that."