retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Walmart would've liked the weekend's headlines to be focused on the spin it offered at its annual meeting, but there also were some less positive stories in which the retailer's name got mentioned…

• The Associated Press is reporting that a Walmart truck driver has been charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto after the vehicle he was driving on Sunday precipitated a multi-car crash that left one man dead and several others, including comedian Tracy Morgan, critically injured.

According to the story, "authorities said 35-year-old Kevin Roper, of Jonesboro, apparently failed to slow for traffic ahead early Saturday in Cranbury Township and swerved at the last minute to avoid a crash." Roper, accompanied by an attorney, turned himself into police, "was released on $50,000 bail Saturday night and has been placed on administrative leave, Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said Sunday.

"Wal-Mart President Bill Simon said in a statement that the company 'will take full responsibility' if authorities determine its truck caused the accident."

There has been speculation that Roper may have been drowsy or asleep at the wheel, and "the National Transportation Safety Board is working with state police to look at any issues in the crash related to commercial trucking and limousine safety."


• And in Las Vegas, Reuters reports that "an armed man and woman shouting about a 'revolution' opened fire and killed two Las Vegas policemen who were eating lunch in a pizza parlor on Sunday, then fatally shot a civilian in a nearby Wal-Mart store before killing themselves, police said.

The reasons behind the event have not yet been determined.
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