EXCLUSIVE Accomplished movie stunt man John Bernecker has died after a 20 foot fall that went wrong on the set of “The Walking Dead” in Georgia.
I can tell you that Bernecker, whose resume is long, had had trouble before with another movie. In 2012 he sued the producers of a movie called “The Loft” starring James Marsden. According to court records, the case was dismissed without prejudice a year ago. This indicates there was a settlement.
According to a report in the Louisiana Record, Bernecker “was suspended in the air by a safety harness and was to be dropped 100-110 feet in a controlled descent. However, he claims a descender spool — built, owned and operated by the Jensen’s — and a backup brake operated by Fanguy both malfunctioned. The plaintiff claims he suffered a free fall from approximately 100 feet and received serious injuries when he struck the ground. Bernecker claims the stunt was successfully rehearsed with a dummy several times, but before he was to do the stunt the parameters were changed due to a safety pad being removed and rain being added to the scene.”
Bernecker sued for damages “for pain and suffering, mental suffering, disability, disfigurement and scarring, loss of wages and earning capacity, medical expenses and loss of enjoyment of life.”
Bernecker seems like he was brutally damaged instantly from the Walking Dead fall. His girlfriend, stunt woman Jennifer Crocker, immediately posted a distraught notice on Facebook indicating that his situation was dire.
Bernecker’s accident comes after several other deaths and injires on film sets including the death of Sarah Jones in 2014 on the Georgia set of the Gregg Allman movie, “Midnight Rider.”
UPDATE A friend of Bernecker says the stunt man was very popular and “a great guy.” He says that as far as he knows there was a settlement in the 2012 case and that “you can see from the case that there were injuries.”