Tracy Morgan on Fatal Car Accident: “I Can't Believe I'm Here”

Tracy Morgan said on "Today" that his case with Wal-Mart has been settled "but the pain is always going to be there."

Tracy Morgan said in his first extended comments since being seriously injured in a car crash that killed a fellow comedian nearly a year ago that, "I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe I'm in front of you. "

Sitting on a chair while holding a cane, Morgan told NBC's Matt Lauer on "Today" Monday that his case with Wal-Mart has been settled "but the pain is always going to be there." 

The "30 Rock" and "SNL" star said he doesn't remember details from the June 7, 2014, accident when a Wal-Mart truck on the New Jersey Turnpike slammed into the back of a limousine-bus carrying Morgan and several others who were returning from a comedy show in Delaware.

Morgan found out two weeks later — after he emerged from a coma — that his friend James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, who had been with him in the car, had died.

"He was a good man," Morgan said, one of several times when he got emotional during the interview. 

Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury, a broken leg, and broken ribs in the crash. Two other friends were seriously injured. Morgan said that while his bones will heal "the loss of my friend will never heal."

He said he watched YouTube footage after the crash and that he has "my good days and my bad days." Sometime he forgets things, has headaches and nose bleeds, he said.

Morgan said that he "can't wait to get back to comedy" but right now his goal is to "heal and get better."

The actor-comedian settled his lawsuit against Wal-Mart at the end of May. The retail giant also reached an out-of-court settlement with McNair's two children earlier this year and said it was working towards settlements with other crash victims.

"We know there is nothing we can do to change what happened to Mr. McNair," company spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said in January. "We're committed to doing what's right."

Morgan said he was happy that Wal-Mart "stepped up to the plate" with its settlement and that they "came through in a clutch" for McNair's family. 

Limo van passengers Ardley "Ardie" Fuqua and Jeffrey Milea, who are also comedians, suffered serious injuries in the fatal crash as well and were plaintiffs in Morgan's lawsuit against Wal-Mart. Fuqua was in a medically-induced coma for one month with critical injuries to his brain and body, and his leg was shattered in five places.

“I’m just glad for all of this to be over,” Fuqua told NBC Owned Stations last week. “ I want to continue concentrating on my rehabilitation.”

Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed.

According to a criminal complaint, the driver, Kevin Roper, was operating the Wal-Mart truck without having slept for more than 24 hours. Roper faces several criminal charges, including death by auto, in state court. He has pleaded not guilty and was not a defendant in Morgan's federal lawsuit.

Authorities with the National Transportation Safety Board estimated that Roper was driving 65 mph when he apparently failed to slow for traffic ahead, swerved to avoid a crash, and ricocheted into Morgan's limo van.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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