Tracy Morgan 'more responsive'

Last updated 12:11 09/06/2014

Police say comedian Tracy Morgan is in critical condition following an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday morning. Jillian Kitchener reports.

Tracy Morgan
Reuters
CRITICAL: Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan is in the intensive care unit following a serious crash.

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Tracy Morgan is "more responsive" after being involved in a fatal car accident on Saturday.

The actor and comedian was critically injured after a tractor-trailer rammed into his chauffeured limousine bus, setting off a chain-reaction crash that left one member of his entourage dead and two others seriously hurt.

"While Tracy remains in critical condition, he has been more responsive today, which is an incredibly encouraging sign," his rep Lewis Kay told ABC news.

Morgan's injuries include a broken leg, a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs. 

"He had surgery earlier today on his leg," Kay said. "We expect him to remain in the hospital for several weeks. His family is tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans."

A Walmart truck driver from Georgia was charged with death by auto in connection to the crash, prosecutors said.

Middlesex County prosecutors said 35-year-old Kevin Roper also faces four counts of assault by auto. His bail was set at $US50,000 ($A54,100), and he was expected to turn himself in later on Saturday.

"This is a tragedy, and we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved," Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said in a statement, reports CNN.

"The facts are continuing to unfold. If it's determined that our truck caused the accident, Walmart will take full responsibility."

The limousine bus carrying Tracy Morgan and six other people lies on it's side.

Morgan, the former Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock cast member, was returning from a stand-up comedy show in Delaware when his Mercedes limo bus carrying seven people overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike near Cranbury Township at about 1am on Saturday, state police Sergeant 1st Class Greg Williams said.

James McNair, 62, of Peekskill, New York, a passenger in the limo bus, died at the scene, Williams said. Morgan, 45, and Jeffrey Millea, 36, of Shelton, Connecticut, were flown from the accident scene to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, where they were in critical condition, hospital spokesman Peter Haigney said.

A fourth passenger, comedian Ardie Fuqua Junior, was also in critical condition, while a fifth passenger, comic Harris Stanton, was treated and released, Haigney said.

Two others in the limo were unhurt, including the driver.

Morgan remains in the intensive care unit at the hospital.

"His family is now with him and he is receiving excellent care," spokesman Lewis Kay said in a statement.

Williams said the tractor-trailer driver apparently failed to notice slow traffic ahead and swerved at the last minute in a vain attempt to avoid a crash.

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But it smashed into the back of the limo, prompting a chain-reaction crash with a second tractor-trailer, an SUV and two cars.

Morgan performed comedy standup on Friday night at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. His appearance at the Fillmore Charlotte in North Carolina on Saturday night was cancelled.

Morgan, a New York City native, joined SNL in 1996 and was on the sketch-comedy program for seven years before leaving to star in The Tracy Morgan Show in 2003. That show lasted just one season.

In 2006, Morgan found a long-running role on NBC's hit show 30 Rock and received an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor for 30 Rock in 2009.

Morgan grew up fatherless, one of five siblings in Brooklyn, where he helped raise and support the family.

He once called his gift for being funny "a defence mechanism" for his miserable circumstances. As a teen, he started doing comedy on the streets to supplement the family's welfare income.

In recent years, he has struggled with alcoholism and drunken driving arrests. He had a successful kidney transplant in late 2010.

Morgan has three grown sons by a previous marriage and a daughter, Maven Sonae, born last July to his fiancee, Megan Wollover.

His films include Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, The Longest Yard, First Sunday, Rio and Why Stop Now.

- AP

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