WASHINGTON, June 9, 2014 – Still in critical condition, comedian Tracy Morgan is still in critical condition this Monday morning, but according to publicist Lewis Kay Morgan is being responsive which they see as “…an incredibly encouraging sign.”
Morgan is recovering from an accident that took place on Saturday, June 7, 2014 when Walmart tractor-trailer driver Kevin Roper, age 35, slammed into the back of a limo bus carrying Morgan, fellow comedians Ardie Fuqua and Harris Stanton and another passenger, Jeffrey Millea, Morgan’s assistant.
Tragically, comedian James McNair, known onstage as Jimmy Mack was pronounced dead at the scene. McNair, 63, was from Peekskill, New York. A close friend of Morgan, they met early in Morgan’s career at Harlem’s Uptown Comedy Club.
McNair was a defacto mentor to Morgan and this weekend had accompanied the 30 Rock star to his show at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware, from where they were returning when the accident occurred.
The close relationship between McNair and Morgan was noted by Sabina Morgan, Morgan’s ex-wife, has said “He was one of the first comedians that took Tracy under his wing.
They were very close.” McNair’s sister, Valerie Daniel, told CNN that McNair “spoke very highly of Tracy. They go way back.” Morgan’s ex-wife, Sabina Morgan, also noted their close friendship, telling The New York Daily News, “He was one of the first comedians that took Tracy under his wing. They were very close.”
“There may be guys like Tracy who get the fame and notoriety, but you have people like Jimmy Mack who have kind of energized and fueled cats like Tracy and kept them going on the road,” says Royale Watkins, a Los Angeles-based comedian.
Many of McNair’s peers expressed their condolences after learning of his death. On Saturday, Steve Martin Tweeted, “So sorry to hear about the death of fellow comedian Jimmy Mack in the horrible accident.”
So sorry to hear about the death of fellow comedian Jimmy Mack in the horrible accident. — Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) June 7, 2014
McNair leaves behind a son, daughter and siblings. He was well-known in his community, often volunteering at his local church and hosting The Original Uncle Jimmy Mack’s Amateur Hour.
After being listed in critical condition, Morgan underwent surgery on Sunday for several injuries, including broken ribs, a broken nose, a broken leg and a broken femur.
There was speculation that he might lose the leg due to the trauma, however it appears that did not happen.
Kay, the publicist, “We expect him to remain in the hospital for several weeks,” he said. Kay has also noted that Morgan’s family “tremendously overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of love and support from his fans.”
The truck driver charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto is presently free on $50,000.00 in bail. The man is employed by Walmart and had been driving a Walmart vehicle at the time of in the crash.
“This is a tragedy, and we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved,” Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “The facts are continuing to unfold. If it’s determined that our truck caused the accident, Walmart will take full responsibility.”
At this time, there has been no reports of any substance abuse by the driver, stating that he may have been drowsy and/or fell asleep prior to the crash.
“The driver of the tractor-trailer failed to observe slow-moving traffic ahead,” Williams said. “At the last minute, he swerved to try and avoid the Mercedes limo bus but struck it from behind, forcing the limo to rotate and overturn.”
Limo driver Tyrone Gale has said to reporters at WCAU that “All I know is I saw traffic … and I stopped … and I was upside down and in the vehicle,”
There were four other vehicles involved in the chain reaction crash, however only the person in Morgan’s limo were seriously injured.
Morgan, 45, was a regular on “Saturday Night Live” for seven years. He later received an Emmy nomination for his role in the comedy series “30 Rock,” in which he played Tracy Jordan, an exaggerated version of himself.
He received an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor for “30 Rock” in 2009. The New York City native made his reputation with over-the-top characters and impressions of celebrities such as Mike Tyson and Oprah Winfrey.
Morgan’s films include “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” “The Longest Yard,” “First Sunday,” “Rio,” and “Why Stop Now.”
Morgan, born Tracy Jamal Morgan (11/20/1968) grew up fatherless, one of five siblings, in a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn, where he helped raise and support the family.
He once called his gift for being funny “a defense mechanism” for his miserable circumstances. As a teen, he started doing comedy on the streets to supplement the family’s welfare income.
In recent years, he has struggled with alcoholism and been arrested on drunken driving charges. He had a successful kidney transplant in late 2010.