Kevin Roper, the 35-year-old Georgia truck driver charged in the Saturday morning New Jersey Turnpike accident that critically injured actor Tracy Morgan and killed James McNair, was driving for Walmart.
The corporation’s President and CEO Bill Simon released a statement later that day, saying, “We’re praying for the family and friends of the passenger who lost his life in the terrible accident in New Jersey. Our hearts go out to everyone involved and we hope those who were injured get the care that they need and make a full recovery.”
“This is a tragedy and we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved,” Simon continued. “We are working quickly to understand what happened and are cooperating fully with law enforcement to aid their investigation.”
“The facts are continuing to unfold,” he added. “If it’s determined that our truck caused the accident, Walmart will take full responsibility.”
Simon’s statement concluded: “Safety is our absolute highest priority, but that is no comfort whatsoever to the families and friends who are suffering today. We offer them our deepest condolences. We can’t change what happened, but we will do what’s right for the family of the victim and the survivors in the days and weeks ahead.”
Roper, who was charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto, was expected to surrender to authorities, and bail was set at $50,000.
Comedian Morgan, best known for lengthy stints on “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” was among two passengers in a luxury van that were airlifted to a hospital following the multi-vehicle accident. Two other limo passengers were hospitalized, though one was treated and released. The group was traveling from a performance at a Delaware casino.
Morgan, 45, an unidentified 36-year-old man from Shelton, Ct., and a 43-year-old man from Jersey City, remain in critical condition, authorities said. They identified one of the men as Jeffrey Millea without giving his city or age.
Though police did not give their names, Morgan’s fellow “SNL” alum, Dean Edwards, tweeted that Morgan’s opener, Ardie Fuqua, and Millea were still hospitalized, and that another comedian, Harris Stanton, had been released. That would indicate that Fuqua, who is from Jersey City, is the 43-year-old, and that Millea is the Connecticut man who was airlifted along with Morgan.