The NTSB today released a preliminary report on the Walmart-Tracy Morgan wreck in New Jersey.
The accident occurred on June 7, 2014, at approximately 12:54 p.m. EST, in the northbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike, near Cranbury, New Jersey.
According to the report, the 2011 Peterbilt, Walmart truck, driven by Kevin Roper, 35, was traveling north in the center lane of the three-lane highway.
At mile marker 71.4, traffic had slowed due to construction on the Turnpike. “Construction contractors were performing work on a large overhead sign about 2.7 miles north of the crash location. The right and center lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike were closed in the vicinity of this construction zone. About 0.9 mile south of the crash location, an advance warning sign notified northbound traffic of the lane closure ahead. About 0.4 mile south of the crash location, speed limit signs were posted that reduced the speed from 55 mph to 45 mph,” the NTSB report states.
As Roper reached the slowed traffic, he was unable to stop in time and struck the rear of a 2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter limo van, owned by Atlantic Transportation Services. The van had 7 occupants: 1 driver and 6 passengers. Roper’s truck pushed the van forward and the vehicles struck other vehicles. In total, six vehicle were involved.
The impact caused the van to rollover and come to rest on its left side.
One person was killed in the accident. The van’s remaining occupants were taken to a hospital.
The NTSB report states that the 2011 Peterbilt was equipped with an electronically controlled Cummins ISX engine that could record vehicle speed, rpm, brake status, and other variables. Investigators found that at the time of the crash, the truck was traveling 65 mph in the minute leading up to the crash.
While early media reports stated that the driver had not slept in 24 hours, the driver’s electronic logging device and other records showed that Roper arrived at the Walmart facility in Smyrna, Delaware the morning before the crash. He went on duty at 11:22 a.m. on July 6.
“The log also showed that the driver made deliveries and pickups in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania throughout the day. According to his log, about 12:20 a.m. on June 7, 2014, the driver left a Wal-Mart facility near Bristol, Pennsylvania, en route to a facility in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The crash occurred about 30 miles after he left the Pennsylvania facility. According to electronic driver log information, the Peterbilt combination vehicle driver had logged 9 hours 37 minutes of driving time when the crash occurred. With respect to the maximum 14-hour consecutive duty period for commercial motor vehicle drivers, the driver had logged 13 hours 32 minutes at the time of the collision. NTSB investigators are comparing the log information with supporting documentation,” the NTSB report states.
Investigators are working to determine how much sleep the driver had before going on duty.
NTSB investigators documented the damage to the vehicles using 3D laser scanning technology. Three-dimensional scans of the Peterbilt combination vehicle and the Mercedes‑Benz limo van are provided in figures 1 and 2 below.
Photo Credit: NTSB