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Actor-comedian involved in fatal tractor-trailer accident

Many California residents who enjoyed watching comedian and actor Tracy Morgan on shows like Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock received unsettling news over the weekend when they learned that Morgan had been in a serious car accident.

Morgan was on his way home from a comedy show with friends and colleagues early Saturday when the limo-van he was riding in was struck by an out-of-control 18-wheeler.

The accident killed a comedian who performed under the name Jimmy Mack and left several others, including Morgan, seriously injured.

According to Morgan’s publicist, the actor-comedian’s injuries included many broken bones. The publicist said that Morgan has been showing signs of improvement and has been “more responsive.” He reportedly has been through at least one surgery.

Meanwhile, questions remain surrounding how the accident occurred.

Police say the accident on the New Jersey Turnpike happened around 1 a.m. Saturday when the driver of the tractor-trailer did not break for slow-moving traffic until the very last second. By that time, it was too late and the truck hit the limo-van from behind, causing it to turn and flip over, police said.

According to CNN, the driver of the Wal-Mart big rig had not slept for 24 hours prior to the crash. The 35-year-old has been criminally charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said that the agency will conduct an investigation into "safety issues related to commercial trucking and limousine safety” as a result of the crash.

There is no doubt that accidents involving tractor-trailers are a problem throughout the entire United States. In April, ten people were killed and many more were seriously injured when a FedEx truck collided with a charter bus carrying high school students about 100 miles north of Sacramento.

Truck drivers as well as their employers can be held criminally and civilly responsible for causing accidents because of negligent or criminal behavior. An investigation can help determine if negligent or criminal behavior contributed to this weekend’s tragic trucking accident.

Source: CNN.com, “Police: Driver charged in Tracy Morgan crash was awake 24 hours,” Kevin Conlon and Doug Ganley, June 9, 2014

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