The driver of Tracy Morgan’s limousine bus said he heard the comedian screaming out for help after his vehicle rolled several times down a New Jersey highway after being rammed by a semi trailer early Saturday morning.
Tyrone Gale, who was driving the limo, told ABC News that he was disoriented after the vehicle flipped over and could hear Morgan yelling for help.
“I climbed around and heard Tracy screaming for help,” Gale said. “I climbed up on the body of the limo bus … but I couldn’t reach them.”
Morgan is recovering but is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after having surgery on a broken leg suffered in the chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike that left two others critically injured and one dead.
The 45-year-old actor and comedian, a former “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” cast member, remained in critical condition early Monday. Morgan’s spokesman, Lewis Kay, said he was “more responsive” Sunday after having surgery for a broken leg.
Kay said Morgan also suffered a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs and is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks. He said Morgan’s family is “tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans.”
Comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, 62, was killed in the crash. He was a close friend and mentor to Morgan, Morgan’s ex-wife, Sabina Morgan, told the New York Daily News. “He was one of the first comedians that took Tracy under his wing,” she said.
Also critically injured were Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea, 36, of Shelton, Connecticut, and comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr., 43, of Jersey City. They remained in critical condition Sunday evening, said Zenaida Mendez, a spokeswoman for Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick. Another passenger, comic Harris Stanton, was treated and released.
Fuqua’s mother, Doris, said she visited him in the hospital Saturday. The writer-comedian had toured with Morgan for nearly a year, she said, and had opened for him Friday night.
“We’re hoping for the best,” Doris Fuqua said Sunday, adding that she didn’t know how long he may be hospitalized. “It’s too early to tell.
A Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. Authorities said 35-year-old Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, apparently failed to slow for traffic ahead early Saturday in Cranbury Township and swerved at the last minute to avoid a crash.
Roper, accompanied by his attorney, turned himself in to state police. He was released on $50,000 bail Saturday night and has been placed on administrative leave, Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said Sunday.
A court appearance for Roper is expected sometime Monday.
Wal-Mart President Bill Simon said in a statement that the company “will take full responsibility” if authorities determine its truck caused the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board is working with state police to look at any issues in the crash related to commercial trucking and limousine safety.
Morgan, a New York City native, was returning from a standup performance at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware when the crash occurred. In all, six vehicles were involved in the pileup, but no one from the other cars was injured.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.