A woman injured during the filming of the third Transformers movie received an $18.5 million settlement from an Illinois court this week.
Despite the large sum, this is not a happy tale — 26-year-old Gabriella Cedillo, who was an extra in the movie, sustained severe head injuries in Sept. 2010 when a cable used to flip a stunt car broke, smashing through the windshield of the car she was driving and into the right side of her head.
When the accident happened, Michael Bay's crew was filming a car-flip-in-traffic scene in Hammond, Ind. Cedillo had been hired, along with about 80 other people, to drive on a road set aside for filming. A car rigged with a device intended to make it roll over was dragged by cable behind a trailer. The welds holding the cable to the bottom of the stunt vehicle didn't hold, and the heavy cable snapped off, whipping into the air.
The haphazard mechanical failure was only the beginning of Cedillo's sad story. Her brother, Rudy Romo, blamed Paramount and Dreamworks for the accident, suing them for the $350,000 in medical expenses his family has spent to date, plus punitive damages. Todd Smith, Cedillo's attorney, said that she suffers hallucinations, reduced cognitive function and memory loss. Her condition requires 24-hour care, so some of the money awarded by the court will be set aside to provide for her future care requirements.
Photo credit: Todd Smith's office/Chicago Tribune