JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman was hospitalized in serious condition Monday after the car he was driving left a rural road in the Mississippi Delta and flipped several times.
Freeman, 71, was airlifted to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn., about 90 miles north of the accident in rural Tallahatchie County. Hospital spokeswoman Kathy Stringer said Freeman was in serious condition but declined to discuss his injuries.
Clay McFerrin, editor of Sun Sentinel in Charleston, said he arrived at the accident scene on Mississippi Highway 32 soon after it happened about 5 miles west of Charleston, not far from where Freeman owns a home with his wife. The accident occurred shortly before midnight Sunday.
"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 it appeared that Freeman's car was airborne when it left the highway and landed in a ditch.
Bill Luckett, Freeman's business partner in a blues club, told The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., that the actor suffered a broken arm and had other injuries.
Freeman, who won an Oscar for his role in "Million Dollar Baby," is among the stars in "The Dark Knight," now in theaters. His screen credits also include "Driving Miss Daisy."
Bystanders converged on the accident scene trying to get a glimpse of the actor, McFerrin said.
When one person tried to snap a photo with a cell phone camera, Freeman joked, "no freebies, no freebies," McFerrin said.
Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Ben Williams said Freeman was driving a 1997 Nissan Maxima that belonged to Demaris Meyer of Memphis when the car ran off the road and overturned several times.
"There's no indication that either alcohol or drugs were involved," Williams said. He said both Freeman and Meyer were wearing seat belts. The woman's condition was not immediately available.
Freeman was born in Memphis, Tenn., but spent much of his childhood in the Mississippi Delta. He is a co-owner of the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale.
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.