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Comic Tracy Morgan, injured in crash, is improving, publicist says

By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comedian Tracy Morgan, badly injured in a weekend highway crash, is showing signs of improvement in a New Jersey hospital where he remains in critical condition, his publicist said on Thursday.

The pileup on the New Jersey Turnpike early on Saturday killed comedian James "Jimmy Mack" McNair and injured Morgan and three others in their limousine van.

Morgan, 45, best known for roles on "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live," suffered injuries including a broken leg, nose and ribs and was hospitalized at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

"Today was a better day. While Tracy remains in critical, but stable, condition, he continues to show signs of improvement," publicist Lewis Kay said in a statement.

"His medical team remains optimistic that his recovery is progressing," Kay said.

Morgan's fiance, Megan Wollover, is with him, Kay said.

A Georgia truck driver pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of vehicular manslaughter and assault by auto in connection with the six-vehicle chain-reaction crash.

Kevin Roper, 35, a delivery driver for Wal-Mart Stores Inc, is accused of failing to see traffic slowing in front of him and slamming into the back of the limo van carrying Morgan and several of his associates.

Roper had not slept in more than 24 hours when he triggered the fatal crash, according to prosecutors.

Wal-Mart has promised to cooperate in the state and federal investigation into the crash and said its drivers were among the safest on the road.

Roper remains free on $50,000 bail.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

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