Tracy Morgan on Howard Stern: considered suicide after accident, can’t yet forgive Jonesboro truck driver

Howard Stern Tracy Morgan

Actor and comic Tracy Morgan said he considered taking his own life after he was severely injured in a 2014 New Jersey Turnpike accident which killed a close friend.

“I thought about suicide man,” Morgan said on Howard Stern‘s show on Sirius/XM today. “I was that damaged in the hospital man. I didn’t want to live… I was struggling to say words. I couldn’t walk!”

A Wal-Mart truck barreled into his limo bus from behind.

“That crash turned me into an emotional wreck,” Morgan said.  “Anybody out there listening, you try to get hit by a truck going that fast with 85,000 pounds of frozen food in the back, watch what it do to you. It’s going to turn you into a wreck.”

He talked about how the Jonesboro Wal-mart trucker Kevin Roper had fallen asleep at the wheel after driving too many hours. Morgan’s mentor Jimmy McNair died.

“You can’t do that,” Morgan said. “It cost my good man his life.”

Stern asked if he could forgive Roper. He isn’t there yet. “I pray to God all the time for the strength to do that,” Morgan said. “I don’t ask for nothing else, just the strength… It was more than the money. It was justice for Jimmy and all those involved.”

Roper pled not guilty in February to aggravated manslaughter, vehicular homicide and eight counts of aggravated assault.

Morgan received an undisclosed amount from Wal-Mart in a settlement over the case.

After the crash, Morgan suffered brain trauma, broken ribs and a broken leg. He was in a coma for more than a week and came out blind for several days. He had to learn to walk and talk again and sequestered himself in his house for several months. He wondered if he’d ever be able to be funny again. He said his young daughter inspired him to recuperate. After seven months, he said “I decided to take my life back. I gotta live!”

Amazingly, he came back on the Emmy’s last year and hosted “Saturday Night Live.” He returned on stage to do a comedy tour earlier this year. (He performed at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in April.) He said his timing isn’t always right but he has worked hard to get back to where he is now.

Morgan said it was unusual to be doing such a heavy interview with Stern. “I’m used to being funny,” he said. “This is a different show because of what happened. I have plenty of time to be funny.”

Amusingly, he said he had no qualms about still shopping at Wal-Mart: “When I was in that wheelchair, I still shopped at that Wal-Mart. You still can’t be their prices!”

Here’s the interview in full. WARNING: Morgan can be NSFW explicit.

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Tuesday, May 16, 2016


View Comments 0