The 51-year-old “Avengers” star was seriously hurt when he was run over by his own snowcat after using it to free a vehicle driven by a family member that became stuck in 3 feet (0.9 meters) of fresh mountain snow on New Year’s Day, Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam said.
An investigation is continuing but there were no signs of foul play or any indication Renner was impaired at the time of the Sunday morning incident, Balaam told reporters.
“At this point in the investigation … we believe this is a tragic accident,” the sheriff said. “He was being a great neighbour and he was plowing those roads for his neighbours.”
The accident left Renner in critical but stable condition with chest and orthopedic injuries, according to a publicist and sheriff’s officials who said Renner was flown by medical helicopter about 25 miles to a Reno hospital.
The sheriff also said that the snowcat was impounded and is being examined by investigators “for any mechanical failure and why it started to roll.”
“He was helping someone stranded in the snow,” Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve told the Reno Gazette-Journal Monday night. She said she and the actor are friends and that she was called about the accident shortly after it happened near the Mt. Rose Highway that connects Reno to Lake Tahoe.
“He is always helping others,” the mayor told the newspaper.
Balaam said Tuesday that it took first responders from Reno more than 30 minutes to traverse the several miles of snowy road to reach Renner on the private road off the highway.
As many as 20 vehicles had been abandoned on the roadway while 3 feet of fresh snow fell overnight, slowing the fire engine and ambulance response.
Balaam said the two-time acting Oscar nominee has become an honorary deputy sheriff in Reno through his participation in the county’s “Shop with the Sheriff” program that raises money for children to shop for Christmas gifts.
“Throughout the community he has been very generous,” the sheriff said.
The Marvel actor shared a health update and a first selfie from the hospital after meeting with an accident that left him in a ‘critical’ state. Taking to his social media handle, the actor said that he was “messed up” after being run over by his own vehicle as he tried to climb into the driver’s seat.
Renner, who was taken by helicopter to nearby Reno, posted a selfie from his hospital bed, showing heavy bruising on his face.
“Thank you all for your kind words. I’m too messed up now to type. But I send love to you all,” Renner captioned the photo.
The actor, who plays an on-screen superhero, suffered severe injuries Sunday morning near his Nevada home while attempting to halt the PistenBully machine, which had begun rolling forward after he used it to help free a stranded family member’s vehicle from heavy snow.
Renner’s publicist Sam Mast said the actor had undergone surgery and was “making positive progress and is awake, talking and in good spirits.”
“He remains in ICU in critical but stable condition,” Mast said.
“He is overwhelmed by the showing of love and support. The family asks for your continued thoughts while he heals with his close loved ones.”