Jeremy Renner has given his first interview after suffering a life-threatening snow plow accident in January, which left the “Hawkeye” actor with over 30 broken bones.
Diane Sawyer, Renner detailed exactly how the Jan. 1 incident occurred, revealing that he was run over by his 14,330-pound Sno-Cat after attempting to jump back in the vehicle to save his nephew.
Renner said that he and his 27-year-old nephew, Alex, were attempting to tow a Ford Raptor out of the snow with his snow plow. As Alex undid the chain connecting the two vehicles after successfully getting it out of the snow, Renner’s plow began to slide on the ice. Worried for his nephew’s safety, Renner stuck one foot out of the plow to look back at Alex, neglecting to set the parking brake. That’s when he lost his footing and fell out of the vehicle’s cab.
“That’s when I screamed, by the way, when I went under the thing,” Renner said. “‘Not today, motherfucker!’ is what I screamed. Sorry for the language.”
Renner said he remembered “all of” the pain. “I was awake through every moment. It’s exactly what you would imagine it would feel like,” he said. “It is hard to imagine what that feels like, but when you look at the machine and you look at — I was on asphalt and ice. I wish I was on snow. It felt like someone took the wind out of you. Too many things are going on in the body to feel pain, it’s everything. It’s like if your soul could have pain.”
Recalling his injuries, Renner said he could “see my eye with my other eye.”
Alex was able to hop into the Raptor before the plow hit the car, sending it into a nearby snow bank. When Alex got out of the car and ran to Renner, he “didn’t think he was alive.”
“It’s pretty terrifying to see the person that you look up to for so much to be like that, to see them like that,” Alex said.
Alex ran to the nearest house in the area, where he spotted Rich Kovach standing in his garage with the door halfway down. Alex grabbed Kovach’s legs and shouted, “You gotta help me!” Kovach and his partner, Barb Fletcher, came to the rescue.
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.
As Renner continues his recovery, he said he’s fine with no longer doing his own stunts. “I’m okay with a stunt guy doing it at this point. I’m 52, it’s fine, I’ve done enough,” Renner said. “I’m okay to do more, right? But I have no ego, like go for it, I don’t care. I’ll be in my trailer.”
But painful memories of the accident still plague his mind. “Last night, I didn’t sleep for shit knowing I was going to have to talk about it today. I have no regrets. I’d do it again,” he said, adding: “I refuse to have that be a trauma and be a negative experience. That is a man that I’m proud of, because I wouldn’t let that happen to my nephew. I shift the narrative of being victimized, or making a mistake, or anything else. I refuse to be fucking haunted by that memory that way.”
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