Toby Halicki: Movie tragedy
Toby was a film producer who had a cult following because of his car-crash movies. He produced and appeared in the films he made, and also took part as a stunt driver.
But in 1989, a stunt that he’d fought for went terribly wrong.
He was filming a sequel, Gone in 60 Seconds II, a follow-up to a movie he had made in 1974. A highlight of the movie was a truck colliding with a water tower- see the video below. But when the 141 foot tower collapsed a cable attached to it snapped, knocking over a telephone pole that in turn hit Halicki.
He did not survive.
Halicki had fought with the local authorities for several months to get permission to perform the stunt for the film. Eventually he was allowed to go ahead but in order to do so, he had to take out an insurance policy for $8million. He talked with reporters just hours before the tragedy occurred and assured them that the stunt was safe. He said that he thought the authorities were being deliberately obstructive.
They authorities on the other hand,thought he was being reckless.
The original film, which was a cult success, was billed as a cinematic demolition derby and the new film was planned to have the same excitement. A tractor trailer was to smash through several cars before hitting the water tower. This took place in a deserted industrial park. The officials made sure that Halicki paid them a $10,000 bond to guarantee that he would arrange for the removal of debris after the scene had been filmed. He said that he was thinking about suing the authorities after the shooting because he didn’t think that the bond requirement was legally done.
During the earlier part of the day, he frequently made sure that the crew kept clear of crashing cars and flying debris. He seemed to be in control of every safety aspect.
He explained to the reporters that he didn’t often perform the dangerous stunts himself because he had been involved in several close shaves including a head-on plane crash.
No-one else was injured in the incident and the authories deemed Halicki’s death to be accidental. At the time of his death he was forty eight years old and newly married.