The Oscar-nominated actor Jeremy Renner has said he was at fault in a New Year’s Day snowplough accident that left him close to death and that he apologised to his family for putting them through the ordeal.
Renner, in an interview on Walt Disney Co’s ABC network on Thursday, said he was driving the snowplough after using it to pull one of the family’s trucks out of the snow.
As the snowplough started to skid on ice, Renner said he became worried about the safety of his nephew, Alex, who had just unhooked the chains connecting it to the truck. Renner stuck one foot out to look back at Alex and did not set the parking brake.
The actor then lost his footing and fell out of the 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.
“But it is what it was,” he added. “And it’s my mistake, and I paid for it.”
Renner, worried that the snowplough would roll back and crush his nephew, said he tried to jump back into the vehicle to stop it. He stepped on to the moving wheel tracks, which threw him forward, and the vehicle ran over him, breaking more than 30 bones, collapsing a lung and piercing his liver.
Neighbours who tended to the 52-year-old actor, who is best known for playing the 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 hospital, Renner said, he gestured to his family to say: “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 undergoing hours of daily therapy for his injuries.
Renner was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor for his work in thec 2008 film The Hurt Locker and for best supporting actor for his work in 2010’s 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 snowplough accident. “I’ve been refilled and refuelled with love and titanium,” he said with a laugh.
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