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Posted: August 15, 2017

Joi ‘SJ’ Harris identified as ‘Deadpool 2’ stunt woman who died after motorcycle crash on set 


By Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

VANCOUVER, British Columbia —

The stunt performer who died on the Vancouver set of “Deadpool 2” after a motorcycle crash has been identified as Joi “SJ” Harris, Deadline reported Tuesday. Although she is not a member, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists confirmed her identity to Deadline.

The Vancouver Police Department posted about the death on Twitter Monday afternoon.

Harris had been considered the first  African-American female professional road racer, according to Deadline. She had been rehearsing the stunt all day, according to a source close to the situation.

>> Read more trending news

Global News TV crews saw the accident, and the outlet reported that Harris was on a motorcycle “when something went wrong, sending the motorcycle airborne and crashing through the glass of the Shaw Tower ground floor studio around 8:20 a.m.”

Witness Sharmina Kermalli told The Vancouver Sun that glass was falling on the body of the woman in the accident.

The Associated Press reported that a crumpled motorcycle was seen lying on its side where the accident happened.

Related: Stuntman injured on ‘The Walking Dead’ set declared dead

“Two officers are inspecting the site for immediate occupational health and safety issues,” a spokesperson for WorkSafeBC, which oversees workplace health and safety, said in a statement. “Three officers are investigating the incident for cause and prevention under the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.”

CTV News reported that Harris was loaded into an ambulance that drove away without sirens or lights after being at the scene for 45 minutes.

“We are deeply saddened by the accident that occurred on the set of ‘Deadpool 2’ this morning. Our hearts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of our crew member during this difficult time,” a spokesman for 20th Century Fox, the film’s studio, said in a statement.

Darryl Dyck/AP
A police officer examines a motorcycle after a female stunt driver working on the movie "Deadpool 2" died after a crash on set, in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday Aug. 14, 2017. Vancouver police say the driver was on a motorcycle when the crash occurred on the movie set on Monday morning. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

The film’s lead actor, Ryan Reynolds, posted a statement on Twitter Monday evening about the death.

“Today, we tragically lost a member of our crew while filming ‘Deadpool,’” he wrote. “We’re heartbroken, shocked and devastated … but recognize nothing can come close to the grief and inexplicable pain her family and loved ones must feel in this moment. My heart pours out to them -- along with each and every person she touched in this world.”

Related: Ryan Reynolds speaks out after stuntwoman dies on set of ‘Deadpool 2’

“I’m deeply saddened by the loss of one of our stunt performers today,” director David Lynch said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “No words can express how I and the rest of the Deadpool 2 crew feel about this tragedy. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and loved ones in this difficult time.”

“Deadpool 2” is the sequel to the February 2016 film based on the Marvel comics superhero Deadpool, starring Reynolds, who plays the snarky titular character. The sequel is set for release June 1, 2018, but production on the film was immediately shut down after Harris’ death. There is no word on if the halt with affect the release date.


Related

Darryl Dyck/AP

‘Deadpool 2’ stunt woman dies after motorcycle crash on set

Darryl Dyck/AP

‘Deadpool 2’ stunt woman dies after motorcycle crash on set

A police officer examines a motorcycle after a female stunt driver working on the movie "Deadpool 2" died after a crash on set, in Vancouver, B.C., on Monday Aug. 14, 2017. Vancouver police say the driver was on a motorcycle when the crash occurred on the movie set on Monday morning. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Stuntman injured on 'The Walking Dead' set declared dead

Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Stuntman injured on 'The Walking Dead' set declared dead

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

>> Read more trending news

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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