Kids remember the late James McNair as a 'loving, caring father'

By Lynette Rice
Updated January 24, 2015 11:40 AM
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Credit: Courtesy McNair Family

The family of James “Jimmy Mack” McNair – the 62-year-old comedian who died June 7, 2014, in the multi-vehicle accident that left Tracy Morgan in critical condition – has settled its wrongful death claim with Walmart.

Terms of the out-of-court deal were not disclosed. McNair of Peekskill, New York, was in a limousine bus carrying Morgan and five others when it was involved in a six-vehicle accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. Police said the accident was caused by a Walmart truck driver who didn’t see traffic slowing in front of his 18-wheeler until it was too late.

The driver, Kevin Roper of Jonesboro, Georgia, was charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. His case is currently pending.

Morgan, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, also filed a lawsuit against Walmart.

On Friday, McNair’s son and daughter talked to PEOPLE about their dad, who became close friends with Morgan after the two met at Harlem’s Uptown Comedy Club when Morgan was first starting his career. McNair and Morgan, who were at the Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware together before the accident occurred, were preparing to go on tour worldwide with other comedians.

“He was a humanitarian, a great comedian, a great role model and a mentor,” said his son/aspiring singer Jamel, 26. “As far as feeling at peace, there is no resolution. I don t think any amount of money can compensate for losing him.”

“He was a loving, caring father,” added his daughter Denita, 19.

Watch a video of Jamel McNair singing a tribute to his father at his memorial service below.