Tracy Morgan has spoken out after Walmart faulted him for not wearing his seatbelt during the accident that critically injured him and took the life of his friend.
“After I heard what Walmart said in court I felt I had to speak out,” Morgan said in a statement Tuesday. “I can’t believe Walmart is blaming me for an accident that they caused. My friends and I were doing nothing wrong. I want to thank my fans for sticking with me during this difficult time. I love you all. I’m fighting hard every day to get back.”
In papers filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey on Monday, Walmart — which is being sued over the accident by Morgan — claims that Morgan and others involved in the accident failed to take proper precautions in the accident, which occurred on the New Jersey turnpike when a Walmart truck struck the vehicle that Morgan was traveling in.
Former “30 Rock” star Morgan was left in critical condition by the six-vehicle accident, which resulted in one death and four hospitalizations.
“[P]laintiffs’ injuries, if any, were caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an available seatbelt restraint device,” Walmart’s response to Morgan’s complaint read. “By failing to exercise ordinary care in making use of available seatbelts, upon information and belief, plaintiffs acted unreasonably and in disregard of plaintiffs’ own best interests. Accordingly, all or a portion of the injuries could have been diminished or minimized by the exercise or reasonable conduct in using their available seatbelts.”
Morgan and other victims of the accident filed suit in July, claiming that Walmart “knew or should have known” that the driver of the Walmart truck which caused the accident, Kevin Roper, had been awake “for more than 24 consecutive hours” prior to the accident, in violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.
The suit claims that Roper had fallen asleep at the wheel before the crash.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident, Roper was driving 65 m.p.h. in a 45 m.p.h. construction zone just prior to the crash. Roper, who was commuting from Georgia to a Walmart distribution center in Delaware at the time of the crash, has pleaded not guilty to charges of death by auto and assault by auto.