The driver of a tractor-trailer that plowed into a limousine van carrying comedian Tracy Morgan and several friends, killing one and severely injuring Morgan and two others, was speeding in the final moments before the crash, according to a preliminary report released Thursday.
Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper was going 65 mph in a 45 mph zone just before the June 7 crash on the New Jersey Turnpike, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s report. The crash killed 62-year-old James McNair of Peekskill, New York.
The NTSB used the truck’s electronic engine-control system to calculate how fast Roper was driving.
“A preliminary review of the data showed that the Peterbilt combination vehicle was traveling at 65 mph for the 60 seconds preceding the collision with the Mercedes-Benz limo van,” the report concluded.
Traffic was slowed by construction that blocked two of the highway’s three northbound lanes. According to the NTSB report, a sign warned of the lane closures about a mile south of where the accident occurred, and another sign a half-mile closer directed motorists to reduce their speed from 55 mph to 45 mph.
According to a turnpike authority spokesman, the speed limit in that stretch of the highway has been lowered from 65 mph to 55 mph since a widening project began in 2009.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. trucks are equipped with devices that limit the vehicles’ speed to 65 mph, a spokeswoman said, so Roper was going at the top speed possible.
Chelsea Handler is taking her talents to Netflix.
The outspoken talk-show host ends her “Chelsea Lately” on E! in August. On Oct. 10, the Internet TV network will premiere her first one-hour stand-up comedy performance based on her sold-out tour, “Uganda Be Kidding Me” Live. She will be taping the special in Chicago today at the Harris Theater.
Then In 2015, Handler will create four new docu-comedy specials for Netflix on subjects ranging from NASCAR to politics and from Silicon Valley to the NBA draft. She will produce the stand-up special, docu-comedy specials and new talk show along with her partners in Borderline Amazing, Tom Brunelle and Brad Wollack
Finally in early 2016, she will debut an all-new talk show that will premiere simultaneously on Netflix.The show will feature an updated format but still focus on topical entertainment and cultural issues, as well as her guest interviews.
“If I was going to continue working in this industry, I knew I had to do something outside the box to keep myself interested,” Handler said. “I wanted to sit with the cool kids at lunch so I approached Netflix to make sure they were as cool as I thought they were, and when I confirmed my suspicions, like with any other future lover, I made my move. I’m more excited than I’ve been in awhile, and the team at Netflix is the most forward thinking, alert group I’ve sat down with in ages. No offense to the Shahs of Sunset.”
Oops. Composer Stephen Sondheim dropped some major spoilers about changes made to the Broadway hit “Into the Woods,” being adapted for the big screen by Sondheim and original book writer James Lapine for Disney and director Rob Marshall.
The New Yorker reports that Sondheim spoke with a group of drama instructors at a master class organized by the Academy for Teachers in New York and said some things you just don‘t say before the release of a major motion picture.
Characters affected include Rapunzel, the Prince and the Baker’s Wife, and he said a number from the musical has been cut. “I won’t tell you what happens, but we wrote a new song to cover it,” he revealed. Sondheim also discussed Disney’s objections to the sexual nature of the Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood’s story, suggesting that those scenes may be sanitized for the movie, according to Broadway.com.
Well stop right there because we are not in the habit of spoiling character and plot points for the viewer. “Into the Woods” is set for a Christmas Day release, with an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp and Anna Kendrick.
Harrison Ford wants it known that he has a broken leg -- not a broken ankle, as first reported -- as a result of an accident on the set of J.J. Abrams‘ “Star Wars: Episode VII.” Entertainment Weekly reported that Ina Treciokas, publicist for the 71-year-old Ford, revealed that surgery was required and it was successful. “He will begin rehab shortly,” she said in a statement. “He’s doing well and looks forward to returning to work.”
The filmmakers have been reworking the schedule to leave Han Solo’s remaining scenes for late in the shoot while staying on track for a Dec. 18, 2015, release date.
Beyonce is headed back to HBO.
The network announced Thursday that it will air four 10-minute segments of her concerts ahead of “True Blood.” Dubbed “Beyonce: X10,” the segments will air Sundays at 8:55 p.m. starting June 29.
The final season of “True Blood” premieres Sunday.
The footage is from Beyonce’s Mrs. Carter World Tour, which wrapped in March. She launches a co-headlining tour with husband Jay Z next week.
The Beyonce documentary “Life Is but a Dream” debuted on HBO last year. The network said it was the most viewed music special on the channel since 2003.
The megastar is riding high off the release of her self-titled fifth album, which has sold 2 million units. It features the hit “Drunk in Love.”