WARNING: This article discusses the details of a traumatic accident.
It’s well-publicized that in Mt. Rose, Nevada, on the morning on January 1, 2023, Marvel actor Jeremy Renner was in a horrific snowplow accident that left him fighting for his life. ABC News‘ Diane Sawyer sat down with Renner months after his accident to get what really happened.
The 911 call by his heroic and distressed neighbors has Renner’s disturbing moans in the background. They report massive bleeding, a dislodged eyeball, and unimaginable sounds of “pain and dying.”
Renner had been crushed by a giant snowplow, at least 9×12 feet in size, on the asphalt, with no snow to cushion the blow. He is unrecognizable and turning a grey/green color that suggests he may have passed away momentarily. Described as a “tough guy” with a “sheer will to live,” Renner was lucky these neighbors were home and that his large family was gathered in his house. He remembers worrying about the future of his existence as he lay in the snow.
So what happened exactly?
With his nephew, Jeremy Renner pulled a truck chained to the snow plow out of the snowy driveway into the street. Eventually, the plow started sliding on the ice, and Renner leaned out of the vehicle to secure his nephew’s location. He described it as sticking your foot and half your body “outside a moving car.” He lost his footing and tried to jump back into the cabin to disengage the machine and keep his nephew out of harm’s way. The fast-moving tracks pulled him forward, then Renner fell face down onto the street, and the plow drove over him. He admits, “It was my mistake, and I paid for it.”
He remembers the pain even in his soul.
After 21 minutes, a firetruck arrived, and the ambulance just after that, but luckily a helicopter could airlift him to a Reno hospital.
At the hospital
Jeremy also remembers being intubated, an unpleasant experience. He had to be “handcuffed” to the hospital bed to keep him from trying to pull the tube out. There were 12 broken ribs on his right side and two on his left. His shin, foot, ankle, and toes had more broken bones. 30 bones were broken, or over 15% of the bones in his body. He also suffered a punctured liver and a head laceration needing staples.
To his family, he made a circular motion on his chest with his left arm meaning “I’m sorry” in sign language. He managed to type a note on his phone, instructing them not to keep him artificially alive on machines. Doctors used metal and screws to reconstruct his face, rib cage, and legs.
His mother read him a Stephen King novel aloud.
How did he survive?
Renner attributes some of his survival to luck and the “army” of people who worked to keep him alive. Luck, because he missed the heaviest part of the snow plow, the wheels. Doctors noted that his Avengers-level shape also helped. Most importantly, Renner had moral support from his family and a mental strength that he attributes to his resilient mother.
Renner is recovering at his LA home, apparently blasting music and surrounded by lots of family. Diane Sawyer enters his home as he dances with his walker.
His mobility is truly amazing, considering his injuries. It just been ten weeks. Renner endures hours of physical therapy and recognizes his privileged access to healthcare.
He looks forward to small wins like “standing in the shower” and says it’s all a mental game. Renner is motivated to heal and get back to life and doesn’t see an alternative to doing the work.
Renner is still triggered by the accident but “refuses to be haunted” by it. He would protect his nephew all over again.
Marvel co-star response
The special reveals that Robert Downey Jr. called him with jokes, and Chris Evans tweeted his support, suggesting the snowplow probably was worse off than Renner. Chris Pratt sent him a video, Anthony Mackey was by his bedside in Reno, and Evangeline Lily came to his home.
Don’t worry; the Avengers tattoo on the back of his neck is still intact – Diane checked.
Right now, you can see Jeremy Renner on his new Disney+ series Rennervations, where he turns old buses and trucks into community projects and other things to help other people. Renner prefers things don’t go to waste.
Jeremy Renner says he sees a “lucky man” in the mirror, and his mother has offered to set fire to the snow plow. He says he “lost a lot of flesh and bone” in this ordeal, but he has been “refilled with love and titanium.”
Maybe he’s more like Hawkeye than he lets on.
You can stream the whole interview on Hulu.