NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Kevin Roper, a former Walmart truck driver accused of causing the 2014 New Jersey Turnpike crash that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed Morgan's friend, has pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and four aggravated assault charges.
Standing beside his attorney David Glassman, Roper admitted to being tired but not stopping to rest on June 7, 2014, before the crash occurred in the Cranbury section of the highway.
The plea was entered before Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Michael Toto who also signed off on Roper being admitted into the pre-trial intervention program which, upon completion, will remove the criminal charges from Roper's record.
As part of the three-year program, Roper, 37, a resident of Jonesboro, Ga., will have to complete 300 hours of community service, retain full-time employment, pay fines and remain free of any offenses.
Toto told Roper that if he fails to complete the program he faces five to 10 years in prison on the vehicular homicide charge along with three years of parole supervision and a possible 30 years on the four aggravated assault charges.
"Good luck in completing the program," Toto said.
In a television appearance earlier this month, Morgan said he harbors no ill will toward Roper.
On June 7, 2014, Roper was driving a Walmart truck on the New Jersey Turnpike when it crashed with a limousine bus Morgan and others were traveling in following the comedian's performance in Delaware.
Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury in addition to a broken leg, nose and ribs. His friend and fellow comedian, James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, was killed in the crash and two other passengers, Ardley Fuqua of Jersey City and Jeffrey Millea of Shelton, Conn., were seriously injured.
Roper was indicted on aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and aggravated assault charges in connection with the crash.
Assistant Middlesex County Prosecutor Sheree Pitchford said the attorney representing McNair's estate, as well as an attorney representing another passenger in the vehicle agreed to the plea, but she never heard back from the attorneys representing Morgan or Millea. Pitchford said the attorneys had been contacted by telephone, email and letter.
Glassman praised the Prosecutor's office for their efforts in the case.
"Obviously Mr. Roper is thankful for the resolution because it gives him an opportunity to go forward and do what he is suppose to do and put his future in his own hands," said Glassman, adding that Roper led an exemplary life up until the night of the crash and he expects that to continue.