TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Walmart truck driver involved in a crash that injured actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and killed his friend has filed an appeal with a federal judge.
Earlier this month, a judge ruled against Roper and allowed the lawsuit to proceed. U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp wrote that a delay would unfairly affect the parties in Morgan’s suit and that Roper didn’t cite relevant case law to back up his claims.
Roper faces criminal charges in New Jersey state court. He’s not a defendant in Morgan’s federal lawsuit, but wanted the suit delayed until his criminal case is resolved. Roper claimed his right to a fair trial could be affected.
According to a preliminary probe by the National Transportation Safety Board, Roper was going 65 miles per hour in the 60 seconds before authorities said he slammed into a limo van carrying Morgan and others home from a show in Delaware.
The speed limit on that stretch of the Turnpike is 55 miles per hour and was lowered to 45 miles per hour that night because of construction.
Morgan, the former “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” star, suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident, according to his lawyer.
Two other passengers, Ardie Fuqua Jr. and Jeffrey Millea, were critically injured. Comedian Harris Stanton suffered a broken wrist. Morgan’s friend James “Jimmy Mack” McNair, 62, of Peekskill, died in the crash.
Roper, 35, faces one count of second-degree vehicular homicide and four counts of fourth-degree assault by auto.
Last month, Walmart and McNair’s family reached an out-of-court settlement.
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