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JACKSON, Miss. — Morgan Freeman is doing well after surgery to reconnect nerves and repair damage to his left arm and hand after rescuers used a jaws-of-life machine to free him and a passenger from the wreckage of his car, his publicist said Tuesday.
Freeman, 71, and Demaris Meyer, 48, of Memphis, were taken to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis after the Sunday night accident on a dark stretch of rural Mississippi Delta highway in Tallahatchie County.
State troopers said the car careened off the highway and flipped end-over-end before landing upright in a ditch.
The surgery Monday night “lasted approximately 4 1/2 hours including recovery and he is in good spirits and was visiting family members this morning,” Donna Lee, the Oscar-winning actor’s publicist, said in a statement.
“He was walking this a.m., and is looking forward to his release as soon as possible,” Lee said.
Freeman was airlifted about 90 miles to the Regional Medical Center where he was treated for a broken arm, broken elbow and shoulder damage, Lee said.
Bill Rogers, a retired police officer, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he witnessed the accident near the small town of Charleston, not far from where Freeman owns a home with his wife.
Rogers said Freeman complained of pain from injuries before being loaded onto a medical helicopter, but “was more concerned about the people around him than himself.”
“Mr. Freeman thought he may have gone to sleep, but he wasn’t sure,” Rogers said. “He didn’t know what happened.”
“The car was bent on the front as well as rear — I mean severely,” Rogers said. “It was so bad I couldn’t tell what it was.”
The Mississippi Highway Patrol is still investigating the accident, Sgt. Ben Williams said Tuesday. Alcohol and drugs don’t appear to be a factor and no citations are likely to be filed, he said.
Hospital spokeswoman Kathy Stringer said Freeman remained in serious condition Tuesday. Meyer’s name wasn’t in the hospital registry, Stringer said. However, under medical privacy laws people can request that their names not be listed as patients at a hospital.
Williams said Meyer was in the Memphis hospital when the Highway Patrol checked Monday night and both she and Freeman were in “good spirits.”
Rogers said he was “watching television about 11:15 and I heard a car sliding on the highway out in front of our house.”
“As I looked out the window, I saw it began to flip after it hit our next-door neighbor’s drive. It went end-over-end about twice and then it came back on its wheels in the ditch. It was a mess,” he said.
Rogers said Freeman and Meyer were briefly unconscious when he got to the vehicle. Freeman was driving Meyer’s 1997 Nissan Maxima, authorities said.
Freeman won an Oscar for his role in “Million Dollar Baby.” His screen credits also include “The Dark Knight,” now in theaters, “Driving Miss Daisy” and “The Bucket List.”
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