The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy continue to follow the fatal trucking accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan. One individual was killed in the collision and Tracy Morgan remains in critical collision. Still, Kevin Roper, the renegade truck driver who caused the deadly accident remains defiant, blaming the media and the celebrity status of Morgan for his plight.
It says here as bluntly as we can put it: Roper is missing the point entirely.
Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, Georgia, an employee of Walmart, was operating his rig on the New Jersey Turnpike. He was at the wheel of a 2011 Peterbilt truck for Walmart around 1am Saturday when he failed to observe traffic slowing down ahead of him. Walmart has publicly claimed that the tractor-trailer was equipped with a system designed to slow its speed and notify a driver of stopped or slowing traffic. It is unclear whether the system was employed or working at the time of the collision. Roper reportedly swerved at the last second to avoid a collision and slammed into Morgan’s limousine. Morgan’s limousine flipped and crashed into other vehicles.
The investigation focused almost immediately on the conduct of Roper. Roper is alleged to be driving without a sleep break for a period in excess of 24 hours. That’s right, driving a tractor trailer on a busy highway after staying up for more than a day. If true, the tractor trailer Roper was driving might as well have been a deadly weapon. It is that lethal a combination.
Right now, the source of the information about Roper’s negligent driving behavior — not taking mandated slee breaks — is not clear. It could have come from Roper himself or from documentary evidence that Roper prepared in connection with his work. Whatever the source, law enforcement feels comfortable enough to charge Roper with Vehicular Manslaughter and Vehicular Assault.
This is a tragic accident and one that Walmart has publicly accepted responsibility for. Walmart’s stance is clearly driven by a desire to curtail the public outrage. Still, Roper should have taken a cue from his employer. Instead, he has resorted to cheap social media stunts to escape responsibility for the collision. Make no mistake: Kevin Roper has every right to defend himself, in court and out of court. Similarly, nothing has been proven at all. Yet, his twitter response reflects an attitude of inappropriate defiance rather than contrition.
In discussing the accident, Roper seems most concerned with how he is being treated, rather than the victims and their loved ones. He claims he is being singled out due to Morgan’s celebrity status, calling himself a “scapegoat.” He dubiously charges the cops with concocting the 24 hour allegation to sell papers and “cover their ass.” He claimed that he was later charged criminally in the crash because “the tv cameras came,” dismissing the notion that the cops wanted to be thorough before reaching any conclusions. He continued that he would have been given a slap on the wrist but for the media coverage. Right or wrong, this is not the forum for public jockeying.
The lack of compassion and contrition illustrates that Roper has failed to appreciate the severity of the situation. He is responsible for a very serious accident that resulted in one loss of life and serious life altering injuries to others. Whether his conduct is criminal in nature remains to be seen. What also remains to be seen is how early and often he will regret this unfortunate and ill-advised social media attack. It says here that he will soon sorely regret these comments.
Block O’Toole & Murphy is a law firm with a long history of helping truck accident victims. The trial lawyers at the firm have recovered more than $750,000,000 in verdicts and settlements for their clients. You can learn more about the firm at www.blockotoole.com. For a free consultation you may call them at 212.736.5300.