Driver who struck Tracy Morgan's van pleads guilty

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — The truck driver who slammed into the back of a van carrying actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and several other people, killing one of them, pleaded guilty Tuesday and could avoid jail time.

Kevin Roper entered the plea in state Superior Court to vehicular homicide and four counts of aggravated assault.

Roper was driving a Wal-Mart truck in June 2014 when he crashed into Morgan's van on the New Jersey Turnpike. The group was returning from Morgan's show in Delaware.

The 37-year-old Jonesboro, Georgia, resident had also faced an aggravated manslaughter count, which is punishable by a 10-to-30-year prison term on conviction. Vehicular homicide carries a 10-year maximum prison sentence.

Under terms of Roper's plea, he can avoid prison if he performs community service and satisfies other conditions over the next three years.

Comedian James McNair died and Morgan and three other passengers were injured in the crash. Morgan suffered a broken leg, broken ribs and head injuries.

The former 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live star made his first public appearance after the accident in June 2015 and made a surprise appearance at the Emmys three months later.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. settled separate lawsuits in 2015 brought by Morgan and by McNair's two children.


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