BUFFALO, AUG. 21 -- Film producer Toby Halicki, who won a cult following with car crash movies, was killed Sunday when a water tower fell prematurely during preparations for a stunt that local officials initially tried to prevent. Halicki, 48, of Gardena, Calif., was killed in the town of Tonawanda, on the outskirts of Buffalo, during filming for the movie "Gone in 60 Seconds II." The collapse of the 141-foot water tower apparently caused an attached cable to snap and knock over a telephone pole, which fell on Halicki, Tonawanda police officer Michael Thorp said. An emergency medical technician and a nurse worked to save Halicki, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Kenmore Mercy Hospital. Thorp said Halicki died of internal injuries. Halicki, who also was directing and starring in the film, had fought with local officials for two months to get permission to topple the water tower, located in an abandoned industrial park. He was allowed to go ahead only after obtaining $8 million worth of insurance. Tonawanda Town Supervisor Ronald Moline had accused Halicki of "flying by the seat of his pants." In an interview just hours before his death, Halicki denied his stunts were unsafe and said he thought town officials were out to "make my life as miserable as they could. "I wound up furnishing them with $8 million worth of insurance {and} a $10,000 cash bond to make sure I'd clean up after the debris, which I understand they've never done to anyone. And I'm looking to sue them when I'm done, because I don't think they had the right to do this to me on private property." This morning, Moline called the accident a tragedy, adding, "I'm not one of those types of people to take any satisfaction out of what happened, like, 'I told you so.' " However, he said, "one of the ironies of this situation is that perhaps the Halicki family will benefit from some of these insurance coverages he took." Halicki returned to the area three months ago to shoot segments for the sequel to his 1974 cult movie "Gone in 60 Seconds," in which Halicki played a car thief. The title refers to the time it takes a professional thief to steal a car. The movie was called a cinematic demolition derby, and more of the same kind of action was planned for the sequel. Halicki was filming a sequence in which a tractor-trailer was to slam its way through a series of cars before ramming the water tower. In the scene, a tractor-trailer was to run into the base of the water tower, and cables attached to trucks were to help pull down the structure. One of those cables apparently snapped and knocked the telephone pole onto Halicki. Before the accident Sunday, Halicki frequently shouted warnings to the crew and observers to stay clear as car crashes -- and accompanying explosions -- took place. "Everybody clear out," he yelled at one point. "There's going to be a big explosion." In the interview, he said he no longer did many of the dangerous stunts in his movies, explaining that a close call while shooting his 1982 "Junk Man" had made him more careful. "I've had some very close calls," he said. "I had a head-on collision with an airplane on my last film. We hit at a combined speed of over 200 miles an hour and we crashed the plane and put about 80 stitches in my head. I was very lucky."