One moment the group was cracking jokes, the friends chatting following a comedy show.
And then – "crunching metal," as Harris Stanton calls it, a highway crash that left one man dead and his friend Tracy Morgan in critical but stable condition.
Stanton, 37, recounted the Saturday crash on the New Jersey Turnpike in an exclusive interview with ABC affiliate WABC. Stanton was riding in a limousine bus with fellow comics Morgan, Ardie Fuqua, James McNair and Jeff Millea when police say the limo was slammed by a Walmart truck, knocking it into other moving vehicles and flipping it over.
"I remember thinking, 'Oh God, oh God, I'm in an accident,'" Stanton said. "And I was just trying to like not, like die.
"When it stopped, Tracy was on top of me, and I didn't see anyone else. And I was just saying, 'Help me, get me out of here.'"
Stanton broke his wrist.
Most frighteningly, Morgan wasn't moving.
"He was unconscious, he was moaning and groaning. He was breathing," Stanton said. "But I was the only one screaming."
McNair, Morgan’s longtime writer, died at the scene. Fuqua and Millea were hospitalized with serious injuries.
The trucker accused in the crash, Kevin Roper, 35, is scheduled to make his first court appearance today. Prosecutors say Roper hadn't slept in more than 24 hours before the crash, and that he only noticed the slow-moving traffic ahead when it was too late – swerving, then hitting the limo.
Walmart does not believe Roper was working more hours than are allowed by law, but police have charged him with one count of death by auto, and four counts of assault by auto.