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Directors Guild Won’t Probe Crash Further; Civil Suits Continue.

June 2, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A committee of the Directors Guild of America has decided against investigating the ″Twilight Zone″ movie set deaths following the acquittals for director John Landis and four others, a DGA spokesman said Monday.

″There are no plans by the guild safety committee to hold hearings on the Landis case at this time,″ said Chuck Warn.

However, committee member Richard Brooks said later that he believes the group will review the case. Negotiations on the new DGA contract, which expires June 30, are ″a little more pertinent right now,″ he said.

The acquittals ″should in no way prevent safety hearings from taking place,″ said Brooks, who has directed such movies as ″Elmer Gantry″ and ″Looking for Mr. Goodbar.″

Warn said local guild leaders would confer with the national board ″at an appropriate time″ on whether action should be taken in the case, in which actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed when a helicopter crashed during filming of a Vietnam War scene for ″Twilight Zone: The Movie.″

Meanwhile, KABC-TV reported Monday that an out-of-court settlement has been reached in civil suits brought by the families of the children.

The station, citing unidentified defense sources, said the settlement of an undisclosed amount was reached a month ago and that a gag order was imposed on attorneys in the case.

Landis and four co-defendants were acquitted of involuntary manslaughter charges Friday by a jury that heard 10 months of testimony. It was the first criminal case resulting from a movie set accident.

Acquitted with Landis were associate producer George Folsey Jr., production manager Dan Allingham, special effects coordinator Paul Stewart and helicopter pilot Dorcey Wingo.

They were charged after the helicopter, hovering amid explosive special effects, fell on top of Morrow, 53, Renee Chen, 6, and Myca Dinh Le, 7.

The prosecution claimed the filmmakers were recklessly negligent, but the jury accepted the defense argument that the crash was an unforseeable accident.

Warn said the safety committee, set up after the ″Twilight Zone″ deaths, plans no further meetings until after negotiations on the new DGA contract are completed. The contract expires June 30.

″If there is a need for a meeting, one will be scheduled,″ said Warn, ″but there are none scheduled now.″

He said the DGA committee also has no plans to investigate the crash of a military helicopter in the Philippines over the weekend that killed four crewmembers working on filming of a Chuck Norris movie.

Joel Behr, the civil attorney for Landis, said Monday night that a gag order in the civil lawsuits scheduled for a Jan. 8 trial in Los Angeles Superior Court was imposed by the judge about a month ago and would be lifted only on request of an attorney involved in the case.

″I’m not at liberty to discuss the case,″ Jerome Birchin, the Chen family’s attorney, said Monday. He had filed a $200 million civil suit.

Earlier, Birchin and Ned Good, who represents the Le family, had said they intended to move ahead with the litigation.

Good had said that the civil cases included the filmmakers and additional defendants such as special effects technicians and Warner Bros. Pictures.

In 1983, Morrow’s daughters reached an out-of-court settlement with Landis and producer Stephen Spielberg of a wrongful death suit. The amount was not disclosed.

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