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Driver pleads not guilty in Morgan crash

  • Kevin Roper leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    Kevin Roper leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Kevin Roper. Roper, second right, tries to walk past cameras blocking him as he arrives for a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    Kevin Roper. Roper, second right, tries to walk past cameras blocking him as he arrives for a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Kevin Roper. Roper, center, arrives with his attorney David Jay Glassman, left, for a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    Kevin Roper. Roper, center, arrives with his attorney David Jay Glassman, left, for a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • This photo provided by the New Jersey State Police shows Kevin Roper. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured and another man dead. (AP Photo/New Jersey State Police)

    This photo provided by the New Jersey State Police shows Kevin Roper. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured and another man dead. (AP Photo/New Jersey State Police)

  • Kevin Roper looks on during his arraignment at the Middlesex County Courthouse Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges, in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Princeton Packet, Phil McAuliffe, Pool

    Kevin Roper looks on during his arraignment at the Middlesex County Courthouse Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges, in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Princeton Packet, Phil McAuliffe, Pool

  • Kevin Roper, center, is surrounded by media as Middlesex County Sheriff's officers assist him as he leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    Kevin Roper, center, is surrounded by media as Middlesex County Sheriff's officers assist him as he leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Kevin Roper. Roper walks past cameras blocking him as he arrives for a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    Kevin Roper. Roper walks past cameras blocking him as he arrives for a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • This Oct. 25, 2014, photo provided by Amber Chavez, shows Manny the Frenchie, a male French bulldog, napping in the bathroom sink. Amber Chavez, owns Manny with her boyfriend Jon Huang.  (AP Photo/Amber Chavez)

    This Oct. 25, 2014, photo provided by Amber Chavez, shows Manny the Frenchie, a male French bulldog, napping in the bathroom sink. Amber Chavez, owns Manny with her boyfriend Jon Huang. (AP Photo/Amber Chavez)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2012 file photo, comedian Tracy Morgan performs at "Eddie Murphy: One Night Only," a celebration of Murphy's career at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif. Morgan is recovering but is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after having surgery on a broken leg suffered in a chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that left two others critically injured and one dead. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2012 file photo, comedian Tracy Morgan performs at "Eddie Murphy: One Night Only," a celebration of Murphy's career at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif. Morgan is recovering but is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after having surgery on a broken leg suffered in a chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that left two others critically injured and one dead. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision, File)

  • Kevin Roper, center, is surrounded by media as Middlesex County Sheriff's officers assist him as he leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    Kevin Roper, center, is surrounded by media as Middlesex County Sheriff's officers assist him as he leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Kevin Roper, center, is led past cameras by Middlesex County Sheriff's officers as he leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    Kevin Roper, center, is led past cameras by Middlesex County Sheriff's officers as he leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • Kevin Roper leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    Kevin Roper leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2012 file photo, comedian Tracy Morgan performs at "Eddie Murphy: One Night Only," a celebration of Murphy's career at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif. Morgan is recovering but is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after having surgery on a broken leg suffered in a chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that left two others critically injured and one dead. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2012 file photo, comedian Tracy Morgan performs at "Eddie Murphy: One Night Only," a celebration of Murphy's career at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif. Morgan is recovering but is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after having surgery on a broken leg suffered in a chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that left two others critically injured and one dead. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision, File)

  • Kevin Roper leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
  • Kevin Roper. Roper, second right, tries to walk past cameras blocking him as he arrives for a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
  • Kevin Roper. Roper, center, arrives with his attorney David Jay Glassman, left, for a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
  • This photo provided by the New Jersey State Police shows Kevin Roper. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured and another man dead. (AP Photo/New Jersey State Police)
  • Kevin Roper looks on during his arraignment at the Middlesex County Courthouse Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges, in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured. (AP Photo/Princeton Packet, Phil McAuliffe, Pool
  • Kevin Roper, center, is surrounded by media as Middlesex County Sheriff's officers assist him as he leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
  • Kevin Roper. Roper walks past cameras blocking him as he arrives for a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
  • This Oct. 25, 2014, photo provided by Amber Chavez, shows Manny the Frenchie, a male French bulldog, napping in the bathroom sink. Amber Chavez, owns Manny with her boyfriend Jon Huang.  (AP Photo/Amber Chavez)
  • FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2012 file photo, comedian Tracy Morgan performs at "Eddie Murphy: One Night Only," a celebration of Murphy's career at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif. Morgan is recovering but is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after having surgery on a broken leg suffered in a chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that left two others critically injured and one dead. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision, File)
  • Kevin Roper, center, is surrounded by media as Middlesex County Sheriff's officers assist him as he leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
  • Kevin Roper, center, is led past cameras by Middlesex County Sheriff's officers as he leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
  • Kevin Roper leaves a court appearance Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in New Brunswick, N.J. Roper, a Wal-Mart truck driver from Georgia, was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in the wake of a deadly chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that killed comedian James McNair and left actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and two others critically injured.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
  • FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2012 file photo, comedian Tracy Morgan performs at "Eddie Murphy: One Night Only," a celebration of Murphy's career at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif. Morgan is recovering but is expected to remain hospitalized for several weeks after having surgery on a broken leg suffered in a chain-reaction crash on the New Jersey Turnpike early Saturday, June 7, 2014, that left two others critically injured and one dead. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision, File)

A truck driver pleaded not guilty yesterday in the fatal New Jersey Turnpike crash that also injured comedian Tracy Morgan as investigators look into what role his long commute to work played in the accident.

Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper lived in Georgia, but his job was based in Delaware, NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said.

A criminal complaint alleges that the 35-year-old Roper, of Jonesboro, Georgia, hadn’t slept for more than 24 hours before the accident when he allegedly swerved to avoid slowed traffic on the turnpike and plowed into Morgan’s limo on Saturday morning.

Wal-Mart has not explained what Roper’s driving route was. The company has said it believes he was in compliance with federal safety regulations.

Roper’s pleaded not guilty to assault and death by auto charges, and his bail was kept at $50,000. Roper and his attorney, David Glassman, refused to answer reporters’ questions after the hearing about whether Roper was the author of tweets from a Twitter account bearing his name and featuring his picture and calling reports of his not having slept for 24 hours before the accident “complete BS!”

A conviction on a death by auto charge carries a 5-to-10-year prison sentence. Each assault by auto charge is punishable by up to 18 months in prison.

The 45-year-old Morgan suffered a broken femur, a broken nose and several broken ribs. His friend and fellow comedian James McNair was killed, and two other passengers were seriously injured. Another passenger was treated and released from the hospital Saturday, and the limo driver and one more passenger weren’t injured.

Morgan underwent surgery for his broken leg and remained in critical but stable condition.

Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea, 36, of Shelton, Connecticut, and comedian Ardie Fuqua Jr., 43, of Jersey City, also remain in critical condition, a hospital spokesman said.

State police on Tuesday 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 Wal-Mart truck.”

Citing the criminal investigation, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman wouldn’t say where Roper’s trip had originated or where he was headed at the time of the crash.

FX Networks issued a statement saying Morgan’s new TV series, a half-hour comedy scheduled to start filming in August for a January premiere on the FXX network, would be waiting for him once he’s well.

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