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Widow Sues Pilot, Producers for Fatal Helicopter Accident
The Des Moines Register

The widow of a Kansas photographer killed in a June 30 helicopter crash while filming the baseball movie “The Final Season” is suing the pilot and movie producers, among others.

Kathryn Schlotzhauer filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Polk County against 19 defendants; including helicopter pilot Richard Green, 72, of Hudson, and movie producer Tony Wilson, 49, of Dallas Center.

Schlotzhauer’s husband, Roland Schlotzhauer, 50, died when the helicopter in which he was riding snagged a power line and crashed into a corn field near Walford. Green and Wilson were seriously injured in the crash, which happened in the final days of filming “The Final Season,” a movie about the 1991 Norway, Ia., baseball team.

“The film producer as well as the pilot should have surveyed this scene in advance to determine the existence and exact location of any utility wires or other potential hazards,” said Gary Robb, Kathryn Schlotzhauer’s attorney, in a prepared statement.

Schlotzhauer is seeking compensation for her husband’s death, as well as $50,000 in punitive damages, Robb said.

The suit claims Green, owner of Ritel Copter Service of Hudson, failed to control his Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopter, flew too low and failed to conduct a safe hover while filming just west of Walford. Ritel, also a defendant, had wire strike protection on the chopper, but the system did not prevent the crash, the suit states.

“This is the first we’ve heard of a lawsuit,” said Carla Green, Richard Green’s daughter-in-law.

Richard Green is still at University Hospitals in Iowa City, where he and Wilson were flown after the crash, but he is out of intensive care and re-covering, Carla Green said.

Green said she heard Wilson had recently been released from the hospital.

The lawsuit claims movie producers, including Wilson and Sean Astin, used unsafe procedures in filming and did not properly evaluate Green’s flight training. Astin, an actor known for roles in “Rudy” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, also starred in the film. Wilson’s special effects and lighting company, Applied Art & Technology of Urbandale, also named in the suit, had no comment.

Schlotzhauer is also suing the East-Central Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative, an Urbana, Ia., company the suit claims did not properly install poles or mark power lines with flags or “spherical markers.”

Other defendants named in the suit are: Final Season Inc., Schott Productions, Steven Schott, Edwards & Associates, Aeronautical Accessories, Michael Wasserman, Herschel Weingrod, Parker Widemire, Carl Borack, Terry Trimpe, David M. Evans, State of Mind Films and Fobia Films

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Personal injury is an area of law that pertains to the injury of an individual. Both physical and emotional injuries fall into this branch of tort law. A personal injury lawyer is generally involved in cases where an injury has occurred due to the negligence of another party.

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