Trucking Accident Driver Pleads Not Guilty

Accident involving Wal-Mart truckThe truck driver responsible for the Saturday accident that has left one dead and four injured has plead not guilty to being sleep deprived along with his charges of assault by auto and vehicular homicide. Kevin Roper, the 35 year old Walmart truck driver, is accused of going 24 hours without sleep when he hit the limo bus carrying comedian Tracy Morgan on the New Jersey Turnpike. According to authorities, although he made an attempt to swerve, Roper failed to notice the stopped traffic and hit the bus. The bus was bringing the comedians home from a show. Comedian and good friend of Morgan’s James McNair was killed in the accident and comedians Harris Stanton, Ardie Fuqua, and Jeffrey Millea were injured. At this time, only Stanton has been released from the hospital. Morgan is still in critical condition, but is expected to recover.

Wal-Mart has yet to release the route Roper was taking and claims that he was operating within the federal law that states truck drivers can only work for up to 14 hours, with 11 of those hours spent driving. Under New Jersey law, a driver can be convicted if sleep deprivation is proven. According to legal analyst Paul Callan, the Jersey law was created because of how heavily the major roadways are used, so going 24 hours without sleep is considered reckless and punishable. He also says that while proof of sleep deprivation is needed for a conviction, proving that Roper was operating on 24 hours without sleep will be difficult. Roper was released on bail posted at $50,000 the same night as the accident and was advised by his judge in Middlesex County during his arraignment that if he travels or drives anywhere, his lawyer should be knowledgeable of the activity.

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