AFRICANGLOBE – The actor and comedian Tracy Morgan has been released from a rehabilitation facility as he recovers from a serious highway crash which left him in intensive care.
On Thursday, lawyers for Morgan filed a lawsuit against Walmar in US district court in New Jersey, claiming the retailer was negligent when a driver of one of its tractor-trailers rammed into Morgan’s limousine van on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Morgan suffered a broken leg and broken ribs. The wreck killed 62-year-old comedian James McNair, who went by the name Jimmy Mack. Comedian Ardley Fuqua and another passenger, Jeffrey Millea, were injured.
A spokesman, Lewis Kay, said on Saturday that the former Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock star will continue his recovery efforts at home, with an “aggressive outpatient programme”.
The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in US district court in New Jersey, claims claims the retail giant should have known its driver had been awake for more than 24 hours, and that his commute of 700 miles from his home in Georgia to work in Delaware was “unreasonable”. It also alleges the driver fell asleep at the wheel.
“As a result of Walmart’s gross, reckless, wilful, wanton, and intentional conduct, it should be appropriately punished with the imposition of punitive damages,” according to the complaint.
Truck driver Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Georgia, has pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges. A criminal complaint also accuses him of not sleeping for more than 24 hours before the crash, in violation of New Jersey law.
A report by federal transportation safety investigators said Roper was driving 65mph in the 60 seconds before he slammed into the limo van. The speed limit on that stretch of the turnpike is 55mph and was lowered to 45mph that night because of construction.
Roper had been on the job about 13 and a half hours at the time of the crash, the report concluded. Federal rules permit truck drivers to work up to 14 hours a day, with a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel.
Morgan, a New York City native, was returning from a standup performance at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware when the crash occurred.
Morgan’s lawsuit seeks a jury trial and punitive and compensatory damages.
A message seeking comment from Walmart was not immediately returned Saturday. An email seeking comment from Morgan’s publicist was not immediately answered.