First pictures of Morgan Freeman accident published - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

First pictures of Morgan Freeman accident published

With the world waiting for a look at Morgan Freeman's crash, only one Mid-South newspaper had them first:  the Sun-Sentinel of Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Editor and publisher Clay McFerrin was the first member of the news media to arrive at the scene of the crash.

"I keep a scanner by my bedside and hear the tone for rescue workers," McFerrin said. "I happened to hear the dispatcher mention the name of Morgan Freeman."
McFerrin arrived at the scene to see a 1997 Nissan Maxima, beat up from rolling multiple times, sitting on the side of the highway.  The Academy Award winning actor was still inside.

"(I) made a point not to capture Morgan in any of the pictures," he said. "No point in sensationalizing an already difficult situation.

By a look at the cover of his paper, readers might not realize at first glance just how big news of the crash was to the rest of the world.

"(There is) a lot of meaty news on the cover - not just that, but I'm sure that will be the primary focus," McFerrin said.

Freeman, 71, and Demaris Meyer, 48, of Memphis, Tenn., were taken to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis following the 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. Rescuers used a jaws-of-life machine to free "The Dark Knight" star and Meyer from the wreckage of the car.

Freeman was airlifted about 90 miles to the Regional Medical Center where he was treated for a broken arm, broken elbow and shoulder damage.

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.

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 "Driving Miss Daisy" and "The Bucket List."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here to send an email to Lori Brown.

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