Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman was injured in a car accident late Sunday night and is in a hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Kathy Stringer said Freeman, 71, is in serious condition. The hospital is about 90 miles north of the accident scene in rural Tallahatchie County in the Mississippi Delta.
Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Ben Williams confirmed Freeman was in a wreck shortly before midnight Sunday.
“Mr. Freeman was driving a 1997 Nissan Maxima. The vehicle was traveling eastbound on Mississippi highway 32 in Tallahatchie County. The vehicle ran off the edge of the road and began to flip several times. Mr. Freeman and the passenger involved were wearing seatbelts. The passenger was Demaris Meyer,” said Williams.
“The doors were jammed on the vehicle from the rolling and flipping. We had to break the doors open with the jaws of life to extract him. There’s no suspicion that alcohol or drugs were involved, according to the investigating officer," Williams said. "It would be speculation on my behalf to say he fell asleep at the wheel. This was a rural road. We just don’t know what happened to cause him to run off the road. He was conscious and not disoriented. I’m pretty sure he was answering questions from the arresting officer.”
Freeman is a native of Mississippi and co-owns a blues club in Clarksdale, called Ground Zero Blues Club.
Clay McFerrin, editor of Sun Sentinel in Charleston, said he arrived at the accident scene on Mississippi Highway 32 soon after it happened about 4 miles west of Charleston, not far from where Freeman owns a home with his wife.
McFerrin said it appeared that Freeman's car was airborne went it left the highway and landed in a ditch.
"They had to use the jaws of life to extract him from the vehicle," McFerrin said. "He was lucid, conscious. He was talking, joking with some of the rescue workers at one point."
McFerrin said bystanders converged on the scene trying to get a glimpse of the actor.
When one person tried to snap a photo with a cell phone camera, Freeman joked, "no freebies, no freebies," McFerrin said.
The hospital where Freeman is being treated is commonly known as The Med, and is an acute-care teaching facility that serves patients within 150 miles of Memphis.
"Morgan Freeman is one of America's most accomplished actors and
one of Mississippi's most admired citizens. Marsha and I are saddened
to hear of his injuries, and we join all Mississippians in praying for
his full and speedy recovery," said Gov. Haley Barbour in a statement.