In the earlier morning hours of Saturday, June 7, 2014, a truck driver for Walmart, Kevin Roper, failed to observe slow-moving traffic ahead of his big rig and violently slammed into the back of a limousine bus on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Tragically, comedian James McNair lost his life in the crash and several others were severely injured, including the limousine bus driver, Tyrone Gale, and passengers Tracy Morgan, Ardie Fuqua, Harris Stanton and Jeffrey Millea.
As the investigation continues into how and why this horrible crash occurred, it appears that driver fatigue played a significant role in the crash. On June 9, 2014, it was announced that the truck driver had not slept for 24 hours prior to the crash. Accordingly, the trucker has been charged with vehicular homicide and multiple counts of vehicular assault.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations allow a trucker to work a total of 14 hours per day and drive no more than 11 hours. The Regulations also mandate that a trucker have a minimum of 10 hours off-duty between shifts. This time is supposed to allow a trucker to sleep.
While it remains to be seen if the Walmart trucker was in violation of the Hours of Service regulations, one thing is clear: this devastating crash could have been prevented and a trucker who had not slept for 24 hours should not have been on the road.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased and with the families and individuals who were injured. Stay tuned for an update on this tragedy as the investigation unfolds and more details emerge.