Comedian Tracy Morgan released from rehab after June crash

Reuters

(Recasts with release from rehab, adds quote)

By David Jones

Newark, N.J. July 12 (Reuters) - Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan was released from a rehabilitation center to finish his recovery at home from a New Jersey crash in June that left him critically injured and killed a fellow passenger, his spokesman said on Saturday.

The announcement came just days after he sued Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc in a New Jersey federal court, alleging the retailer knew or should have known its truck driver, Kevin Roper, was not in compliance with federal regulations designed to combat driver fatigue.

"He asked me to pass along his sincerest gratitude to everyone who has helped him get to this point. He would also appreciate some privacy during this crucial point in his recovery," spokesman Lewis Kay said in a statement.

The statement added that Morgan, best known for starring in NBC's "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live," will undergo a rigorous outpatient regimen to complete his recovery.

On Thursday, the actor filed a lawsuit claiming that Wal-Mart truck driver Roper commuted more than 700 miles (1,130 km) from his Georgia home to a company distribution facility in Delaware before beginning his work shift, and that he had been awake for over 24 hours prior to the crash.

Roper was charged last month with vehicular homicide and assault-by-auto after prosecutors said he rear-ended the limo bus Morgan and his entourage were riding in during the June 7 crash, near Cranbury, New Jersey. He pleaded not guilty.

Morgan was riding along the New Jersey Turnpike with several people including his assistant Jeffrey Millea and comedian Ardley Fuqua Jr, who were also injured in the crash and are co-plaintiffs in the suit. The crash killed comedian James McNair, 62, of Peekskill, New York.

"We are deeply sorry that one of our trucks was involved," Wal-Mart said in a statement. "As we've said, we're cooperating fully in the ongoing investigation."

"We're committed to doing the right thing for all involved," the statement said.

Federal investigators said last month that Roper was driving roughly 20 miles per hour (32 kph) over the speed limit just before the crash.

Morgan and the other plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages and attorneys' fees.

(Additional reporting by Curtis Skinner in New York; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Marguerita Choy)

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