updated 08/04/2008 AT 12:15 PM ET
•originally published 08/04/2008 AT 11:50 AM ET
Morgan Freeman is in serious condition after being involved in a car accident in Mississippi late Sunday night.
The 71-year-old Oscar winner, who currently costars in the blockbuster The Dark Knight, was driving in Tallahatchie County when the accident happened at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Mississippi Highway Patrol public affairs officer Sgt. Ben Williams tells PEOPLE.
According to Williams, Freeman’s 1997 Nissan Maxima was heading eastbound on Mississippi Highway 32 when the car went off the edge of the road and overturned several times before coming to a stop.
A passenger, identified by police as Demaris Meyer, was also in the car with Freeman.
Once emergency crews – using the jaws of life – removed Freeman and the passenger, both were airlifted from the accident scene to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, where a spokesperson says Freeman is currently in serious condition.
“All I can say is one word: His condition is ‘serious,’ ” says Kathy Stringer, the hospital rep. She had no information on the other passenger.
When the actor was pulled out of the car, “he was conscious, coherent. He was talking,” according to eyewitness Clay McFerrin, who is the editor and publisher of The Charleston Sun-Sentinel. “He even seemed to have a sense of humor.”
McFerrin said that while Freeman was on a stretcher, people gathered to get a glimpse of him, and the actor joked: “No freebies, no freebies.”
The accident is under investigation and no cause has been determined, but no alcohol or drugs were involved, according to police.
Calls to Freeman’s rep were not immediately returned.
MediaTakeOut first reported the accident.