Tracy Morgan was very emotional as he appeared for the first time on television to discuss the car crash that left him seriously injured and his friend dead.
The former 30 Rock star, 46, sat down with Matt Lauer as he discussed the loss of his friend James “Jimmy Mack” McNair in the accident.
Morgan’s limo van was struck by a speeding Wal-Mart truck in New Jersey on June 7 last year as he and his friends were returning from a stand-up show.
His friend, fellow comedian James ‘Jimmy Mack’ McNair, was killed in the accident. Wal-Mart has since reached settlements with both McNair’s family and Morgan.
Morgan said, “The case is settled but the pain is always going to be there for Jimmy Mack. He was a loving man, he was a good man… It’s just hard for me to see that he’s gone. Bones heal, but the loss of my friend will never heal”.
McNair, 62, grew up with Morgan in New York City and was a friend and mentor to him over the years.
On Monday, Morgan tearfully recounted how he had asked McNair to write a joke for him for his show in Delaware. His last memory of his friend is seeing him laugh during the performance, he said.
Tracy Morgan, who suffered a broken leg, broken ribs and a head injury, said he remembers nothing of the crash and only learned that his friend had died when he woke from a coma two weeks later.
He said, “When I got home it really hit me. Every day I would just watch the accident on YouTube and one day I came across his funeral on YouTube and I lost it for about a week.”
When Today host Matt Lauer asked him why he chose to watch the videos, he responded, “I had to know what happened to my friend. I had to pay my respects. That was my way.”
Morgan is still recovering and said he suffers headaches, memory loss, and nosebleeds from head trauma.
He became emotional as he thanked his nurses and doctors, who he continues to see in his dreams.
He also thanked the emergency personnel and the strangers who came to his aid the night of the deadly crash, as well as his fiancee and family members who ‘keep my spirits up’.
Morgan hopes to one day return to comedy, telling Lauer, “Right now my goal is just to heal and get better because I’m not 100 per cent. I’ll get back to making you laugh, I promise you.”
It is nearly a year since the comedian was heading home from a show in Delaware with his team and other performers on June 7. As their limo van drove on the New Jersey Turnpike, it was rear-ended by a Wal-Mart truck.
The truck’s driver, Kevin Roper, had had been driving at 65 mph the minute before the crash even though the speed limit on the stretch of road was 55 mph and it had been dropped to 45 mph for construction.
According to a criminal complaint, Roper was operating the truck without having slept for more than 24 hours.
He has pleaded not guilty to several criminal charges including death by auto.
Walmart reached a settlement with Morgan and others involved in the deadly crash.
Tracy said, “I’m happy that Walmart stepped up to the plate in a tremendous way. I’m just happy that they took care of Jimmy Mack’s family.”
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