In June 2014 a limo carrying Tracy Morgan and friends was struck by a Wal-Mart semi tractor trailer, killing one man and injuring the other passengers, including Morgan. This week the National Transportation Safety Board has released its findings about the crash. The NTSB found the driver of the Wal-Mart truck had been awake more than 28 hours prior to the wreck. He was working a 14 hour shift, and at around 1 am at the time of the crash, was in his 13th and a half hour. Before starting his shift the truck driver had driven twelve hours in his car from his home in Georgia to his base in Delaware. The NTSB has determined the driver’s decision to drive 800 miles overnight was a factor in the crash. The wreck happened in a construction zone with a speed limit of 45 mph. The NTSB also found the truck driver was driving 65 mph at the time of the wreck. A NTSB investigator said “had the truck driver been traveling at the posted work zone speed limit of 45 mph, it could have been stopped before impact.” The driver’s attorney has said he disputes the NTSB’s conclusions.
In addition to the findings regarding the Wal-Mart tractor trailer, the limousine carrying Morgan and his friends also had safety problems, they found. First, none of the limo’s passengers were wearing seat belts. Second, the limo had been customized, so there were no exits available until first responders removed a plywood panel that had been installed. It took first responders nearly forty minutes to get some of the passengers out of the limo.
The Wal-Mart driver has been criminally charged with one count of vehicular homicide and several counts of assault by auto. Authorities say he fell asleep behind the wheel. Morgan and the other passengers also filed a civil lawsuit against Wal-Mart and a confidential settlement was reached in May 2015.
The Poppe Law Firm represents drivers and passengers injured in car and semi-truck wrecks. If you have been injured in an accident, please call the Poppe Law Firm at 502-895-3400.