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Posted: July 14, 2017

Stuntman injured on 'The Walking Dead' set declared dead

Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

COWETA COUNTY, Ga. —

A stuntman seriously injured on the set of AMC hit “The Walking Dead” has been declared dead.

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Richard Hawk, coroner for Coweta County, Georgia, confirmed to WSBTV.com that John Bernecker died Wednesday.

Bernecker had been seriously injured in a fall and was taken by medical helicopter to a hospital.

“They were doing a stunt and something went wrong,” Hawk told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He was flown to Atlanta Medical Center where he was pronounced brain dead July 12 at (6:30 p.m.).”

Hawk didn’t have further details about the circumstances that led to the accident. According to an accident report, Bernecker fell 25 feet onto concrete.

Production on the AMC action-packed zombie series has been halted following the fall.

Bernecker had a long and impressive list of film credits. His work included Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther,” due out next year, and “Rampage,” which just wrapped. Production temporarily halted on “Rampage” when another stuntman, Dave Macomber, was injured.

>> See the latest on WSBTV.com

Friends, loved ones and industry figures have been flooding social media accounts with words of grief and tribute. “Transformers” series executive producer Michael Bay posted this somber message:

Bernecker’s girlfriend, Jennifer Cocker, posted a message of anguish while he remained hospitalized.

“John deserves to be seen by every neurosurgeon and doctor there is until one of them sees the life we all know he has in him and bring him back to us,” she wrote. “This isn’t fair.”

Other messages of support came from those who have worked with Bernecker:

The tragedy happened to coincide with the latest legal action stemming from a fatal accident on the set of “Midnight Rider.” Crew member Sarah Jones, 27, died when a train came hurtling down the track where the film crew was setting up for a scene. The production did not have permission to film on the train trestle outside Jesup.

>> See the latest on AJC.com

Director Randall Miller reached a plea deal that avoided a trial and absolved his wife and business partner, Jody Savin. In pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing, Miller received a sentence of two years in jail and eight on probation, in addition to a $20,000 fine.

Jones’ parents, Richard and Elizabeth, settled a lawsuit filed against numerous plaintiffs involved with the case, but CSX, which owns the tracks where the unauthorized production work was taking place, is mounting a defense.

In his testimony on Thursday, Richard Jones acknowledged that the crew was trespassing but said CSX should have taken action to prevent the fatal wreck, Deadline reported.


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