On Saturday, June 7, a limo bus carrying comic James McNair, actor Tracy Morgan and comics Harris Stanton and Ardie Fuqua crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike.
According to reports, a tractor trailer slammed into the rear end of a Mercedes Sprinter they were traveling in. The accident also involved five other vehicles, including two tractor trailers and an SUV.
A chain reaction crash killed 63-year-old James McNair, also known as Jimmy Mack, who was one of Morgan’s writers. The Peekskill, N.Y. native also hosted “The Original Uncle Jimmy Mack’s Amateur Hour.”
He and Morgan were riding with three others inside a limo bus that was taking the performers and members of their entourage home from a standup comedy show in Delaware. Morgan was touring with the other comedians nationally in a show called “Turn it Funny.”
“It just breaks our heart to see this happen,” said Jamie Masada, owner of the Laugh Factory on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. “Anytime we lose a comedian, we just shouldn’t because they’re all a doctor of the soul.”
Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan, as well as his assistant, Jeff Millea, are both in critical condition and currently being treated at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
A representative for Morgan has now issued a statement, saying: “Tracy remains in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. He sustained these injuries in an accident that occurred early this morning as one of several passengers in a chauffeured SUV returning from a tour date in Delaware.”
The spokesperson added: “His family is now with him and he is receiving excellent care. We don’t anticipate much of a change in his condition today but will provide a further update once more information becomes available.”
The actor’s ex-wife, Sabina Morgan, told the New York Daily News that Morgan was unconscious and has a broken leg. Doctors assured her that he is expected to recover, she told the News. She added that the couple’s three adult sons were deeply upset by the news of their critically injured father.
Another comedian, Ardie Fuqua Jr. was critically injured as was 36-year-old Jeffery Mala. Both men remain in critical condition, while a fifth man in the limo bus was treated at a hospital and released.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it was working with state police to look at any issues in the crash related to commercial trucking and limousine safety.
Brooke Buchanan, a Walmart spokesperson, said the truck driver is a Walmart employee.
“This is a tragedy and we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved,” said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., in a statement. “The facts are continuing to unfold. If it’s determined that our truck caused the accident, Walmart will take full responsibility.”
The truck driver, identified as 25-year-old Kevin Roper, has been charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, says CBS News.