†††††††††††††††††† †††† Middlesex County Prosecutorís Office

††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† 25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901 (732) 745-3300

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† †††† *News Release*†††††††††††††††† Date: June 7, 2014

 

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Truck driver charged in fatal Turnpike crash 

          Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced that a truck driver from Georgia was arrested today and charged with causing a multi-vehicle crash that resulted in the death of a passenger, and injured four others, including comedian-actor Tracy Morgan, who all were riding in a van on the New Jersey Turnpike in Cranbury.

 †††††††† Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Ga., was charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto after the tractor-trailer he was driving crashed into the van at 1 a.m. today.

 A passenger in the van, James McNair, 62, of Peekskill, N.Y., was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:53 a.m. and the four other passengers, including Morgan, were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. Morgan and another passenger, a 36-year-old man from Shelton, Ct., were airlifted to the hospital.

Morgan, 45, is listed in critical condition. The Connecticut man and another passenger, a 43-year-old man from Jersey City, remained hospitalized, but their conditions were not immediately available.

 The remaining passenger was treated at the hospital and was released.

 Roper, the tractor-trailer driver, was being held on $50,000 bail.

 A preliminary investigation determined that the tractor-trailer crashed into the van, a 2012 Mercedes Sprinter. Both vehicles were in the northbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike. Four other vehicles were subsequently involved in the crash. None of the occupants of those vehicles was injured.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

 Anyone with information is asked to call the New Jersey State Police Detective Bureau at the Troop D Station in Cranbury at (732) 609-860-9000, extension 4400.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Roper are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.