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Movie producer purposely drove off cliff, authorities say

August 30, 2012 | 11:24 am

The family of documentary film producer Brian Gerber said they are trying to understand his death in an apparent suicide.

Authorities believe Gerber took his life Tuesday or early Wednesday by steering his car off a cliff on Angeles Crest Highway, according to county officials.

Gerber’s Toyota Prius was found about 600 feet down the embankment from the highway, said Lt. Angela Shepherd of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station. His body was found about 100 feet away.

Sheriff’s deputies first received a call about the accident from a passing driver about 6 a.m. Wednesday. The Montrose Search and Rescue team recovered Gerber’s body a short time later.

Shepherd said authorities don’t know when the crash occurred, but when deputies and rescue personnel found the car, it appeared to have been there for “a while.”

"Brian’s family thanks you for all the condolences, good thoughts, prayers and asks for your patience and understanding during this most difficult of times," the family wrote in a statement on his Facebook page. "Obviously they are overwhelmed with this situation and are asking for privacy. We will be in touch as soon as arrangements have been made for services."

Gerber, 41, produced the global warming documentary “The 11th Hour” for actor Leonardo DiCaprio and was involved in numerous other productions for the film, television and music video markets. He was a member of the board of the International Documentary Assn., according to the website of his Pasadena production firm, Gerber Rigler.

Ed Winter, assistant chief at the Los Angeles County coroner's office, confirmed that Gerber’s body was found near mile marker 31 at 7:35 a.m. Wednesday. Winter said investigators found a suicide note by the highway, near where the car went off the side.

No drugs or alcohol were found at the crash site, Shepherd said.
Officer Kevin Denmon of the Altadena California Highway Patrol office said Gerber is the third person to die on Angeles Crest Highway this year. Two motorcyclists were killed after losing control of their bikes on the winding road, he said.