Comedian and comic actor, Tracy Morgan, is known to millions of Americans, including Floridians, especially for his over-the-top performance in TV's "30 Rock." Morgan's life took a tragic turn in early June when he and several others were involved in a tractor-trailer accident that left him and two others badly injured and one friend dead.
The truck accident in New Jersey happened when a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer slammed into a limousine van carrying Morgan, 45, and several friends and fellow comedians. Comic Jimmy Mack, 62, was killed. Morgan suffered a broken leg, broken ribs and other injuries. Two others were also injured.
Morgan, who was recently released from the hospital to undergo what could be months of rehabilitation, decided to pursue legal action against the truck driver and his employer, Wal-Mart. The National Transportation Board's investigation found that the driver had been awake for more than 24 hours and was asleep when his truck hit Morgan's limo.
The lawsuit filed by Morgan and the other victims alleges that negligence on the retail giant's part contributed to their injuries and Mack's death. The lawsuit alleges that Wal-Mart should have known the tractor-trailer driver was sleep deprived and not fit for long-distance travel. The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 35-year-old Georgia native, is facing trial in New Jersey on one count of vehicular homicide and four counts of assault by vehicle.
If the truck driver is convicted of criminal charges, this case will show why lack of sleep is dangerous not only to the truck driver, but also to others on the road. It also highlights the responsibilities that companies with commercial trucking operations, Wal-Mart included, have in ensuring their truck drivers are rested before they drive. Otherwise, a negligent party may be held legally responsible for any accidents that result.
Source: Peekskill-Cortlandt Patch, "Tracy Morgan Suing Walmart Over Crash That Killed James McNair," Lanning Taliaferro, July 16, 2014