Comedian Tracy Morgan is in critical condition today following a six-vehicle auto crash that claimed the life of one and seriously injured three others. The accident occurred on a Mercer County stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike around 1:00 AM, when Morgan was returning from a comedy show in Delaware. According to police, his Mercedes-Benz limo bus overturned after it was rear-ended by a semi trailer.
Morgan was air-lifted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Center in New Brunswick, where he remains in the intensive care unit. “His family is now with him and he is receiving excellent care,” says publicist Lewis Kay. “We don’t anticipate much of a change in his condition today but will provide a further update once more information comes available.” Two other members of his entourage are also in critical condition.
Fellow passenger James McNair, a writer and friend of Morgan’s, was killed in the accident. A native of Peekskill, NY, 63-year-old NcNair performed as a comedian under the stage-name Jimmy Mack. “He spoke very highly of Tracy,” his sister told CNN. “They go way back.”
The driver of the semi trailer has been charged with death by auto and four counts assault in connection to the crash. New Jersey State Police report that Kevin Roper of Jonesboro, GA, has bail set at $50,000 and is expected to turn himself in later today. “The driver of the tractor-trailer failed to observe slow-moving traffic ahead,” says Sgt. Gregory Williams “At the last minute, he swerved to try and avoid the Mercedes limo bus but struck it from behind, forcing the limo to rotate and overturn.” He does not feel that alcohol played a role in the wreck.
Morgan first gained national fame in 1996 when he joined the cast of late-night sketch institution Saturday Night Live. He stole the show with unforgettable characters like Brian Fellows and Astronaut Jones, as well as over-the-top impressions of Oprah Winfrey, Aretha Franklin and numerous others. After seven years he departed to pursue his own program, The Tracy Morgan Show, but the venture was cancelled after just 18 episodes. It wasn’t until 2006 that he struck TV gold as Tracy Jordan on fellow SNL vet Tina Fey‘s hit sitcom, 30 Rock. Playing an exaggerated version of himself, the role earned him an Emmy in 2009. That same year, Morgan served as the host for the VH1 Hip Hop Honors.
He also appeared on the VH1 show The Wendy Williams Experience. Looking back at these clips, we’re reminded just how funny and talented the man truly is. We’re sending him good vibes and warm wishes for a speedy recovery!