Jeremy Renner describes snowplough accident: ‘My mistake and I paid for it’

Avengers star Jeremy Renner has said the accident in which he was crushed by his snowplough in January was “my mistake, and I paid for it”.

Renner broke more than 30 bones when he tried to stop the vehicle from running over his nephew on New Year’s Day.

His first full interview since then was aired on US network ABC on Thursday.

“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,” he said.

“But it is what it was. And it’s my mistake, and I paid for it.”

Renner, 52, is best known for playing Marvel’s Hawkeye and has been nominated for two Oscars.

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He told ABC’s Diane Sawyer he and his nephew Alex, 27, had been using the 6.5-tonne vehicle to move one of the family’s trucks out of the snow.

When the snowplough started skidding on the ice, Renner said he put a foot out of the cab to check whether Alex was in its way, without setting the parking brake. But he lost his footing and fell out.

“I just happened to be the dummy standing on the dang track a little bit, seeing if my nephew was there.”

Afraid that the vehicle would “sandwich” Alex against the truck, Renner tried to jump back in. But he stepped onto the plough’s moving wheel tracks, which threw him forward, and the vehicle ran over him.

“That’s when I screamed, by the way, when I went under the thing,” he said. “‘Not today!'”

Image caption,

The actor spent more than two weeks in hospital

Asked if he remembered the pain, he replied: “Oh yeah, I was awake through every moment.

“It’s hard to imagine what that feels like… It felt like someone took the wind out of you.

“Pain is everything – it’s like if your soul could feel pain.”

Recalling his thoughts at the time, he continued: “I said, ‘Oh, that [leg], that one’s really messed up… that leg’s [going to] be a problem.

“[I’m thinking], what’s my body [going to] look like? Am I just gonna be like a spine and a brain like a science experiment?”

However, after three months of intensive treatment, Renner was seen in the ABC programme being able to walk with the aid of a frame.

No regrets

He told Sawyer that when he woke up in hospital, he gestured to his family to say he was sorry.

“I felt bad that my actions had caused so much pain”, he said, and added that hearing his family’s perspectives and memories of the accident is “horrifying”.

“That’s real love. It’s suffering but that feeds the seeds of what love is.”

He said he had no regrets and “would do it again”, and would refuse to be “haunted by that memory in any way”.

“I refuse to have that be a trauma and it be a negative experience. That is a man I’m proud of because I wouldn’t let that happen to my nephew.”

As well as playing Hawkeye in Marvel blockbusters and a Disney+ series, Renner’s credits include The Hurt Locker, Arrival, The Bourne Legacy and two Mission: Impossible movies, plus the TV series Mayor of Kingstown.

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