February 25, 2009 / 10:42 PM / 10 years ago

Morgan Freeman sued over car crash

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A woman who was Morgan Freeman’s passenger in an August car crash sued the Oscar winner for negligence on Wednesday and said she wants to clear her name from claims she was his mistress.

Morgan Freeman poses at the premiere of "The Bucket List " in London January 23, 2008. REUTERS/Anthony Harvey

Demaris Meyer, the passenger, also said that despite media reports to the contrary, she and Freeman met the night of the accident at a country club, where they dined with mutual friends, and that she was not in a romantic affair with him.

“I have been labeled as the ‘other woman’ and have been accused of having caused the breakup of Mr. Freeman’s marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Meyer said at a news conference in Los Angeles.

She is represented by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred.

Meyer’s lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi Delta Division. The crash happened the night of August 3, 2008, near a home that Freeman keeps in Charleston, Mississippi, when he lost control of his Nissan Maxima and it struck a ditch and rolled over.

“We are confident this will all be resolved,” said Ken Sunshine, a spokesman for Freeman. “We have no further comment on the current litigation.”

Meyer said she was riding with Freeman that night because they were going to his ranch, since it was closer to her work than a friend’s home where she originally planned to stay. She said the actor assured her she would not only have her own bedroom at the ranch, but “her own house.”

“He was a perfect gentleman and I accepted his offer,” said Meyer, who lives in Tennessee, north of Freeman’s Mississippi home.

Meyer’s lawsuit also accuses Freeman of drinking before taking the wheel, but Mississippi authorities have not charged him with driving under the influence.

Freeman, 71, was hospitalized for four days after the collision, and his injuries included a broken arm and elbow.

Meyer was airlifted to a hospital and suffered numerous injuries, including a blow to the head resulting in cognitive difficulties and short-term memory loss, her lawsuit states. She has not returned to work as an executive assistant.

Meyer’s lawsuit accuses Freeman of negligence for failing to properly operate the car, and she is seeking unspecified damages in an amount to be proven at trial to cover medical expenses and her permanent disability, among other things.

At the time of the crash, Freeman was separated from his wife of 24 years and was in the midst of a divorce, which has not yet been finalized.

Freeman won an Oscar in 2005 for his supporting role in Clint Eastwood’s boxing drama “Million Dollar Baby.”

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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