Colorado Springs family files wrongful death charges over TV pilot

Terry Flanell died during realty TV pilot filming

Terry Flanell died in June 2012 during realty TV pilot filming. (Photo: Dragonman Facebook page June 18, 2013)

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By Stephanie Wolf

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The family of a Colorado Springs woman, who died during the filming of a reality television show, filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against Discovery Communications Inc. and Anthropic Productions Corp. last week in a Denver federal court, according to The Associated Press.

Terry Flanell died on June 14, 2012 while filming a pilot for a new reality TV show, “Brothers in Arms,” centering on her family’s business, Dragon Arms Inc., a Colorado Springs firearms shop and shooting range.

According to the lawsuit filed by Flanell’s husband and daughter, the opening sequence of the show was set to show employees walking through a cloud of smoke. During the filming of this scene, one of the pyrotechnic devices malfunctioned, striking and killing Flanell. The lawsuit claimed there were no licensed pyrotechnics operators on set last summer during the filming of the pilot.

Back in 2012, shortly after the accident, Flanell’s husband, Melvin Bernstein, told Colorado Springs’ Gazette his wife of 33 years was struck by 10- to 12-inch long projectiles when the pyrotechnic devices detonated.

“They went right through her body, she didn’t suffer or nothing,” he said. “She just dropped.”

On the one-year anniversary of her death, Bernstein posted on the Dragonman Facebook page, “We signed a one-year contract with them to make a show about my 87 military vehicles and machine guns. It would have been some show.” He also said the accident occurred after eight days of filming and wanted to assure his customers it was not gun-related.

“This is all I am allowed to say, advised by my lawyers,” Bernstein posted.

No phone number was listed for Anthropic and a Discovery spokeswoman did not return phone calls to The Associated Press for comment.

As stated on the Dragonman Facebook page, Flanell and Bernstein built five businesses together and raised two daughters. The family has set up two memorials in her honor. She was 51 at the time of her death.

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