Jeremy Renner Opens Up About Snowplow Injuries In Moving First Interview: ‘It Would Have Been A Horrible Way To Die’

Jeremy Renner opens up on the Snow plow accident on New Years Day who left him in critical condition. Sitting in his wheelchair in an exclusive interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer published Thursday, the “Avengers” star recalls the horrific moment, saying it was “my mistake” and “I paid for it.”

On the day of the incident, Renner was clearing snow before a day of skiing with his family in Reno, Nevada. He used more than 14,000 pound Snowcat many times before, and that day her nephew Alex was there to help her. At one point while driving the plow it kept slipping and Renner couldn’t see where his nephew was, so Renner opened the door and stuck out a foot to try and find him.

He told Sawyer that all he remembered next was that he lost his footing and fell on his side. He was fine at first, but fearing the machine would pin his nephew between it and the nearby truck, he tried to return immediately.

But when he jumped onto the tracks of the plow, they immediately threw him — straight into the path of the vehicle.

“It was what it was and it was my mistake,” he said, “and I paid the price for it.”

ABC aired the 911 call that was made the morning of Renner’s Jan. 1 crash. In this audio clip, Renner’s neighbor Rich Kovach, who was helping the actor, can be heard saying “he’s been run over” and pleading for immediate help.

“Listen to me, I need – you might want to get life flying here immediately,” the man says as Renner can be heard moaning in the background. “…He’s in a bad state.”

Kovac told ABC that Renner was covered in blood and it looked like his skull was “open wide.”

“His eye looked like it had been knocked out,” he said.

In the interview, Renner said he remembered “all” the pain. At one point he said, “I could see my eye with my other eye…I just remember seeing stars.”

“I was awake every moment. It’s just like I imagined it,” he said. “…I was on asphalt and ice. It was like someone took your breath away.”

The snowcat ended up pushing the truck Alex was in against a snow bank, but he was safe and able to get out. He saw Renner in a pool of blood and immediately ran to Kovac’s house for help.

It took rescuers 20 minutes to get there through snow, wind and ice. They got him into the ambulance within minutes, but by the time he arrived at the hospital he was in a “peak level of trauma”, doctors said.

“His entire right side of his chest was fractured,” a surgeon told ABC. Doctors said he had more than 30 broken bones in various parts of his body.

When his family arrived, Renner couldn’t speak, but he was able to use sign language to convey a single message: “I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry. I did this to them,” he said. “It’s my responsibility. I feel bad that my actions have caused so much pain.”

At one point, Renner asked for a phone and typed in a note of his “last words to my family.”

“Don’t let me live with tubes on a machine and if my existence is going to be on drugs and painkillers, let me go now,” he recalled asking them.

But Renner, who doctors described as young and healthy with a good support system, prevailed and is making progress in his recovery. In the interview it was seen using a walker and a wheelchair to get around. He only got up a day early.

“If I was out there alone it would have been a horrible way to die,” he said. “And surely it would have been.

Months after the incident, Renner said he didn’t want the story to be about him as a victim, but about the strength that came from it.

“I refuse to let this be a trauma and a negative experience. … I wouldn’t let this happen to my nephew, so I’m changing the narrative of being a victim or making a mistake or whatever,” a- he declared. “I refuse to be haunted by this memory in this way.”

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