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Report Finds Truck Driver In Tracy Morgan Crash Was Speeding

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A report on the crash that seriously injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed one of his friends said the driver of a tractor-trailer was speeding before the crash.

Web Extra: NTSB Preliminary Report With Photos

The preliminary report released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board said Kevin Roper was driving 65 mph at the time of the June 7 crash.

Report Finds Truck Driver In Tracy Morgan Crash Was Speeding

As WCBS 880's Levon Putney reported, the 18-wheeler's engine control module recorded the truck's speed at 65 mph just 60 seconds before the crash.

About a half-mile south of the crash on the northbound New Jersey Turnpike, signs advised drivers to slow from 55 mph to 45 mph because of construction ahead, according to the report.

The truck plowed into Morgan's limo van.

"If you're not paying attention you can't see the signs and you can't see the changing dynamics in front of you. So paying attention to the task at hand is what we preach over and over again," said Zach Hosseini, with the State Highway Safety Office.

Kevin Roper
Kevin Roper appears in court on June 11, 2014. (credit: Levon Putney/WCBS 880)

Roper, who is from Jonesboro, Georgia, was driving the truck for Walmart. Walmart said its trucks are equipped with devices that limit speed to 65 mph.

On June 10, state police released audio recordings from three 911 calls made after the accident.

"It's a terrible accident," a woman tells the dispatcher in one of the calls. "The car flipped. It's on its side. It's two vehicles and a Walmart truck."

Morgan, 45, suffered a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs. He underwent surgery for his broken leg and is expected to remain hospitalized for weeks.

Tracy Morgan Crash
Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was in critical condition after a crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. (Credit: CBS 2)

His friend and fellow comedian James McNair was killed and two other passengers were seriously injured. Funeral services for McNair were held last Thursday.

According to the criminal complaint, Roper operated the truck "without having slept for a period in excess of 24 hours resulting in a motor vehicle accident." It doesn't specify the basis for that assertion.

Federal regulations allow truck drivers to work up to 14 hours a day with a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel.

The report said Roper had logged just over 13.5 hours, Putney reported.

They must have at least 10 hours off between work shifts to sleep.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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