Grand jury indicts truck driver in Tracy Morgan crash

(AP Photo)

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey grand jury on Wednesday indicted the truck driver who crashed into a limo van carrying Tracy Morgan, killing one man and severely injuring the comedian.

The grand jury charged Kevin Roper with first-degree aggravated manslaughter, second-degree vehicular homicide and third-degree aggravated assault charges in the 2014 crash.

Roper’s attorney tried unsuccessfully to have previous charges of vehicular homicide and assault by auto thrown out. His lawyer argued Tuesday that Wal-Mart’s settlement of Morgan’s lawsuit generated publicity that harmed the Jonesboro, Georgia, resident’s chance for a fair trial.

Roper was driving a Wal-Mart truck when the crash occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike. He was not in court Wednesday, and an arraignment will be scheduled at a later date, said a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.

His lawyer, David 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 turnpike.

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.

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