UPDATED: JUNE 11, 2014 3:44PM
SNL alum Tracy Morgan’s tragic car accident Sunday on the New Jersey Turnpike killed his friend, writer and comedian James McNair. While Morgan currently remains in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, reports indicate that he’s responding well to treatment. But the cause of the crash, Wal-Mart truck driver Kevin Roper, was arrested and released on bail.
Roper claims that contrary to media reports, he was not drunk or on drugs at the time of the accident. He took to Twitter Tuesday to defend himself against what he says is scapegoating.
“Once again the accident was horrific and we lost a precious life, but please remember I was not drunk, high (I was tested and passed)," read the Tweet.
Appearing in state Superior Court Wednesday to face death by auto and assault by auto charges, Roper pleaded not guilty with bail set at $50,000. He and his attorney declined comment after the hearing.
Some believe that Wal-Mart, and the rest of the trucking industry, should be taken to task for the manner in which it pushes drivers to make deadlines some feel are unreasonable and dangerous. The harried nature of the average interstate trucker to get from one location to the next dictates that they push themselves because a waste of time is a loss of money. The New Jersey State Police are now saying they believe Roper was awake for more than 24 hours prior to the accident. Roper and Wal-Mart both deny this.
In a statement, Wal-Mart spokesman Brooke Buchanan referred to the law that limits 11 hours of driving in a 14-hour period, followed by 10 hours of rest.
"With regards to news reports that suggest Mr. Roper was working for 24 hours, it is our belief that Mr. Roper was operating within the federal hours of service regulations.”
Tracy Morgan suffered a broken rib, leg, arm, and other significant injuries. Roper is charged with death by auto and assault by auto.
Check Kevin Roper's Tweets defending himself below.