Film and TV star Tracy Morgan was in critical condition Saturday after a vehicle he was traveling in was involved in a multi-car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike that left one man dead and three others seriously injured, police said.
Morgan, 45, was traveling back from a comedy stop at a casino in Dover, Del., when his limousine van was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer, causing a chain-reaction crash that involved five vehicles, Trooper Greg Williams, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Police, told the Los Angeles Times. The actor and Jeffrey Millea were both airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.
The tractor-trailer, owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., “failed to observe” slow-moving traffic as it came up behind Morgan’s limousine and other cars traveling north on the highway near Cranbury, roughly 50 miles south of New York City, Williams said. The trailer tried to swerve to avoid Morgan’s limousine but struck the vehicle from behind, causing it to spin out of control and flip over, he said. Morgan’s vehicle, described by Williams’ as an eight passenger Mercedes, then collided with a Buick Enclave and a second tractor-trailer before comin to rest.
“Tracy remains in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital,” the comedian’s spokesman, Lewis Kay, said in a statement. “He sustained these injuries in an accident that occurred early this morning as one of several passengers in a chauffeured SUV returning from a tour date in Delaware. His family is now with him and he is receiving excellent care. We don’t anticipate much of a change in his condition today but will provide a further update once more information becomes available.”
Harris Stanton and Ardley Fuqua Jr., who were also in Morgan’s limousine, were also taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in critical condition, Williams said. James McNair, 63, of Peekskil, N.Y., was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Williams. McNair, a comedian more commonly known by his stage name, Jimmy Mack, often performed with Morgan and he was believed to have done so at the Delaware gig Friday night.
The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office will investigate the wreck with the state police and criminal charges are possible, Williams said. He declined to identify the driver of the tractor-trailer or say how fast he was driving.
Morgan has been on a multicity comedy tour called “Turn It Funny.” An engagement Saturday night in Charlotte, N.C., was canceled.
Best known for his seven-year stint on “Saturday Night Live” and his semi-autobiographical turn as an incorrigible celebrity on NBC’s hit comedy “30 Rock,” Morgan also has fashioned a film career, starring in comedies such as “Cop Out” and “Death at a Funeral.” He most recently could be heard as the voice of Luiz in the Brazil-set animated movie “Rio 2.” He was also developing a new series for cable channel FXX with the creators of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
Morgan, known for his provocative stand-up material that has sometimes landed him in hot water, has had a number of high-profile health struggles, including with alcoholism and diabetes. He has a 1-year-old son with fiancee Megan Wollover and has three grown children from his marriage to Sabina Morgan.
Times staff writer Tenny Tatusian contributed to this report