By Lisa Richwine
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Oscar-nominated actor Jeremy Renner said he was at fault in a New Year’s Day snowplow accident that left him close to death and that he apologized to his family for putting them through the ordeal.
Renner, in an interview that aired on Walt Disney Co’s ABC network on Thursday, said he was driving the plow after using it to pull one of the family’s trucks out of the snow and onto pavement.
As the plow started to skid on ice, Renner said he became worried about the safety of his nephew, Alex, who had just unhooked the chains connecting the truck and the plow. Renner stuck one foot out of the plow to look back at Alex and did not set the parking brake.
The actor then lost his footing and fell out of the plow’s cab.
“You shouldn’t be outside the vehicle when you’re operating it, you know what I mean? It’s like driving a car with one foot out of the car,” Renner, seated in a wheelchair, told ABC News journalist Diane Sawyer.
“But it is what it was,” he added. “And it’s my mistake, and I paid for it.”
Renner, then worried that the snowplow would roll back and crush his nephew, said he tried to jump back into the vehicle to stop it. He stepped onto the plow’s moving wheel tracks, which threw him forward, and the vehicle ran over him, breaking more than 30 of his bones, collapsing a lung and piercing his liver.
Neighbors who tended to the 52-year-old actor, who is best known for playing Marvel superhero Hawkeye in the “Avengers” movies, said they found him with blood all around him, shallow breathing and a crack in his skull.
When he woke up in the hospital, Renner said, he gestured to his family with a sign language motion that means “I’m sorry.”
“It’s my responsibility,” Renner said. “I feel bad that my actions caused so much pain.”
Doctors used titanium rods and screws to repair broken ribs and also placed metal in his legs and in his face to rebuild an eye socket.
The actor was shown walking with the aid of a walker. He is still undergoing hours of daily therapy for his injuries.
Renner was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor for his work in 2008 film “The Hurt Locker” and for best supporting actor for his work in 2010 movie “The Town.”
He is slated to make his in-person return to Hollywood on Tuesday at a red-carpet event for his TV series “Rennervations,” in which he helps repurpose older vehicles such as buses and provide them to communities in need.
Renner credited the support of his family with helping him survive the snowplow accident.
“I’ve been refilled and refueled with love and titanium,” he said with a laugh.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine)
Originally published April 7, 2023, 9:27 AM