The mother of John Bernecker, the veteran stuntman who was killed on the set of The Walking Dead, is vowing to “seek justice” for her son and prevent future tragedies from occurring in the industry.
Addressing the circumstances of her son’s passing, Susan Bernecker said she intends to “seek justice for John and to ensure that no other parent with a child working in the film and television industry suffers this kind of heartbreak” reports Deadline. Bernecker has retained the same attorney that represented the parents of Sarah Jones. Jones was killed while working as a camera assistant on the film Midnight Rider.
“There are no words to describe the loss of my son, John, who was a highly professional, veteran stuntman with a remarkable passion for life,” said Bernecker in a statement. “He was very respected and loved in the film industry. This tragedy has changed our family forever and has left us with many questions that deserve answers.”
On Friday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration hit The Walking Dead‘s production company with the maximum allowable fine ($12,675) as a result of the incident. John Bernecker suffered massive head injuries from a fall while rehearsing a fight scene and would later succumb to his injuries.
“This tragedy should serve as a wake-up call for the entertainment industry,” said OSHA Atlanta regional administrator Kurt Petermeyer of the fine. “The entire industry needs to commit to safety practices for actors and stunt people involved in this type of work.”
The show’s production company, Stalwart Films, characterized the death as a tragic accident in response to the fine and suggested they may take action versus the ruling.
“This was a tragic and terrible accident. We take the safety of our employees extremely seriously on all of our sets and comply with – and frequently exceed – industry safety standards. We disagree with the issuance of this citation and are considering our response.”