Last year, public awareness of the very real dangers of driving roadways alongside big, heavy commerical trucks (semis, big rigs, tractor trailer trucks, etc.) exploded as news came of the horrific crash in New Jersey last year, where beloved comedian Tracy Morgan was seriously injured and one of his friends was killed. The truck driver in that crash later faced criminal charges as a result of the accident.
There were civil lawsuits filed as a result of that crash. Tracy Morgan settled his case with Walmart, owner of the big rig. He recently appeared at the Emmys Award Show to demonstrate his recovery from the truck accident.
Now, we are learning more about what happened in that fatal truck crash. The National Transportation Safety Board has issued its findings after an investigation that began in June 2014.
NTSB Finds Truck Driver Fatigue Caused Tracy Morgan Walmart Truck Crash
According to the NTSB, it was truck driver fatigue that was responsible for the Walmart big rig crashing into the limo that carrying Tracy Morgan and his friends (along with driving over the speed limit). There may be details here that are new to you.
About 12:55 a.m. on Saturday, June 7, 2014, a 2011 Peterbilt truck-tractor in combination with a 2003 Great Dane semitrailer operated by the motor carrier Walmart Transportation LLC (Walmart Transportation truck) was traveling northbound on the New Jersey Turnpike (part of Interstate 95) near Cranbury, New Jersey, in the center lane of the three-lane roadway. Near milepost 71.4, the Walmart Transportation truck encountered traffic that had slowed to less than 10 mph along a construction corridor, due to closure of the center and right-hand lanes. The truck was traveling 65 mph in a nighttime work zone that had a posted speed limit of 45 mph.
The Walmart Transportation truck struck the left rear of a slowly moving 2012 Mercedes-Benz limo van (limo van) that was in the center lane. The impact from the Walmart Transportation truck accelerated the limo van forward and caused it to turn to the right. The limo van collided with a 2006 Freightliner tractor-trailer traveling in the right lane. Contact from the Freightliner and Walmart Transportation trucks forced the limo van to roll over one quarter turn onto its left (driver) side. During its roll, the limo van struck the rear of a 2011 Buick Enclave, which then struck the rear of a 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck. The limo van came to rest overturned onto its left (driver) side across the center lane. After striking the limo van, the Walmart Transportation truck continued into the left lane and struck a 2005 Nissan Altima in the rear before colliding with a guardrail and stopping on the shoulder against a concrete barrier.
Twenty-one people in six vehicles were involved in the crash. As a result of the crash, one limo van passenger, who had been riding in the vehicle’s passenger compartment, died on scene, and the other four passengers in this compartment were seriously injured. Five additional people had minor injuries.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Cranbury, New Jersey, crash was the Walmart Transportation LLC truck driver’s fatigue, due to his failure to obtain sleep before reporting for duty, which resulted in his delayed reaction to slowing and stopped traffic ahead in an active work zone and his operation of the truck at a speed in excess of the posted limit. Contributing to the severity of the injuries was the fact that the passengers seated in the passenger compartment of the limo van were not using available seat belts and properly adjusted head restraints.