Wal-Mart Blames Tracy Morgan for His Injuries in Accident

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On Monday, Walmart denied responsibility in response to a lawsuit filed by Tracy Morgan over the car crash involving one of the company’s truck drivers that left him in critical condition and killed a fellow passenger.

In a statement released by Morgan’s publicist, the actor-comedian said, “I can’t believe Walmart is blaming me for an accident that they caused. My friends and I were doing nothing wrong.”

Morgan, 45, filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart over the June 7 crash involving one of the company’s trucks on the New Jersey turnpike when it slammed into the back of a limo van he and others were riding in. The accident left the comedian with broken ribs, a broken nose and a broken leg in the crash. His friend and fellow comedian James McNair was killed and others were injured.

The truck driver, Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges in a New Jersey court. A criminal complaint also accuses him of not sleeping for more than 24 hours before the crash, a violation of New Jersey law.

In court filings Monday, the retail giant said injuries suffered by Morgan and his fellow passengers, Jeffrey Millea and Ardley Fuqua, “we caused, in whole or in part, by plaintiffs’ failure to properly wear an appropriate available seat belt restraint device,” and that Morgan and company had “acted unreasonably and in disregard of (their) own best interests.”

The chain also noted the possibility that the injuries “may have been caused by third parties over whom Walmart had no control.”

Benedict Morelli, a lawyer representing Morgan and the other plaintiffs in the lawsuit, responded to accusations in a telephone interview with NY Times, saying, “When a tractor trailer hits your vehicle, at a dead stop, at 65 miles an hour, seatbelts have nothing to do with it.”

A report by federal transportation safety investigators said Roper was driving 65 mph in the moments before he slammed into the van. The speed limit on that stretch of the turnpike is 55 mph and was lowered to 45 mph that night because of construction.

Read more on this story at the Associated Press.

(Photo Credit: Bill McCay/Getty Images for Mount Airy Casino Resort)