A federal transportation safety report has found Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper was traveling 20 miles over the speed limit at 65 miles per hour when his semi-tractor trailer collided with a luxury van on the New Jersey Turnpike on June 7.
The fatality accident took the life of comedian James McNair and injured actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and three other people.
The preliminary accident report filed by the National Transportation Safety Board today (June 19) found Roper traveling at 65 miles an hour for about a minute prior to crashing with the van which was flipped over upon impact.
The report also said Roper was within the allowable driving time of 14 hours on the road at 13.5 hours. Investigators claim that Roper swerved to avoid a crash on the turnpike and in so doing his rig slammed into the back of Morgan’s limo van.
The report states that speed limit signs reducing the speed from 55 mph to 45 mph were posted about a half-mile before the crash. The speed limit had been reduced because of construction.
In addition, the NTSB report said investigators are compiling and analyzing information to determine the activities of Roper and the amount of rest he received in the hours and days preceding the crash.
Roper pleaded not guilty to death by auto and assault by auto charges. He is on administrative leave from Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart said its trucks are equipped with devices that limit the vehicles' speed to 65 mph. Drivers are required to follow the posted speed limit under Wal-Mart policy, according to corporate spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan
"Of course we expect our drivers to comply with the laws, whether it's a speed limit, or (something else)," Buchanan told the media.
Wal-Mart declined further comment on the report, citing the pending investigation.