Authorities are investigating the death of an experienced transport captain who died last Friday while filming the Netflix movie “The Electric State.” Variety has learned.
Peter DeToffoli died almost instantly when the Chevrolet SUV he was driving slammed into a semi-truck on northbound I-75 (pictured above in 2014) at “high speed” according to the initial inquest report. The crash happened shortly after 3 a.m. local time.
DeToffoli’s steering wheel and windscreen were crushed on impact and emergency medical services found him “trapped and unresponsive” in the driver’s seat. Firefighters used death jaws to slash the doors of the vehicle and extract him but tragically were unable to resuscitate him. The 58-year-old was pronounced dead just before 6am.
A source said Variety these skid marks on the road suggested that DeToffoli had tried to brake just before impact.
“The Electric State” is a science fiction film based on the illustrated novel of the same name by Simon Stalenhag starring Millie Bobby Brown and Chris Pratt. Anthony and Joe Russo are directing and producing.
Netflix declined to comment, but a source close to the project said production was halted on Friday as a mark of respect. The cast and crew also had access to counseling resources. “Our thoughts are with his family,” the source said.
According to his IMDB page, DeToffoli was an experienced driver based in Los Angeles who had worked on projects such as “The Black Dahlia,” “Ray” and “I Am Sam” and as a transport captain on “The Finder.” His LinkedIn page also suggested he had worked as a driver at Twentieth Century Fox. He was a member of the Teamsters drivers union.
The incident report noted that trucking law books and logbooks were found in the vehicle DeToffoli was driving alongside a production badge for the TV show “Bones.”
Although the production source said the accident happened after DeToffoli had finished work for the day and was on his way back to his accommodation, Variety understands that the Clayton Country Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating whether DeToffoli was officially out at the time of the accident. And they are also looking into whether, given that he was a professional driver, the number of hours he worked could have contributed to the accident. A source close to the project says he was working a 10-hour day, in line with production guidelines.
The accident took place during a second consecutive night shoot on the project. Clayton County Parks & Rec advised residents of road closures following a shoot for “The Electric State” not far from the crash site between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. Nov. 3-4, bleeding until the next morning.
A source in Atlanta familiar with the filming schedule said Variety this crew had also worked through Wednesday night.
A spokesperson for the Clayton Country Medical Examiner’s Office said Variety“This case is still under investigation. At this time, there is no indication that there was any alcohol or drugs involved, and this is currently considered an unfortunate accident.
The statement continued: “We have not been able to determine if the deceased was working at the time of the accident or if he was sleep deprived.”