CSX to pay $3.9M for train crash that killed movie crew member Sarah Jones
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A railroad owner must pay $3.9 million to the family of a movie worker killed on a Georgia railroad trestle in 2014, a jury decided Monday in civil verdict that found the company shared in the blame for the deadly freight train collision even though the film crew was trespassing.
The parents of Sarah Jones sued CSX Transportation in Chatham County State Court, saying the railroad shared blame for their daughter's death. The 27-year-old camera assistant died in the crash Feb. 20, 2014, during the first day of shooting Midnight Rider , an ill-fated movie about Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band.
"This trial disclosed a number of exceptionally poor judgments and ignored opportunities by CSX Transportation to prevent this tragedy," Jones' parents, Richard and Elizabeth Jones of Columbia, South Carolina, said in a written statement.
CSX plans to appeal the jury's decision, said Rob Doolittle, a spokesman for the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company.
"CSX is deeply sympathetic to the terrible loss suffered by the family of Ms. Sarah Jones, but respectfully disagrees with the conclusions reached by the jury today," Doolittle said.
The film's director, Randall Miller, served a year in jail after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing charges. Jones' parents said CSX also failed to take precautions that could have averted the crash on a trestle spanning the Altamaha River near Jesup in southeast Georgia.
Jones' family had also sued Miller, his fellow production managers and several other defendants. All of them except for CSX settled or otherwise resolved their cases out of court. The jury Monday found $11.2 million to be the total value of Jones' life as well as her pain and suffering. Jurors decided CSX — the only defendant on trial — bore 35 percent of the responsibility for Jones' death, making the railroad's share $3.9 million.
The jury in Savannah heard testimony during the civil trial that two CSX trains rolled through while the movie crew stood on both sides of the tracks within an hour before the crash, but the operators of those trains never called dispatchers to alert them. Jurors also were shown a CSX policy that train operators are expected to immediately report trespassers on its tracks and rights of way.
Jeffrey Harris, the Jones family's attorney, also noted that the train's brakes weren't applied until after the locomotive struck a hospital bed the filmmakers had placed across the tracks. Actor William Hurt, hired to play Allman, had been lying in the bed before the train came upon the crew at 53 mph (85 kph). Hurt escaped unharmed.
Six crew members were injured by flying shrapnel from the bed. Jones was run over.
Hurt appeared in Savannah and sat outside the courtroom during the trial's first day last week. But the actor was never called to testify in the case.
CSX attorneys blamed the crash entirely on the filmmakers. CSX officials had twice sent production managers emails denying them permission to shoot on the bridge. Three of Jones' co-workers testified that production managers never told the rest of the crew members, who went onto the railroad trestle unaware they were trespassing.
CSX lawyers argued that evidence of failures to follow company policies doesn't prove the railroad was negligent. They said the engineer in the crash didn't brake sooner because he was afraid the train would derail and possibly dump its payload of shipping containers onto people who were huddled on the bridge's narrow walkway beside the tracks.
The crash ended production on Midnight Rider , which has remained in limbo. Allman went to court to prevent Miller from reviving it before he died in May at age 69.
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Movie crewmember killed in train accident on georgia set.
UPDATED: A woman died and seven others were injured while shooting the Gregg Allman biopic "Midnight Rider."
By Aaron Couch
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A crewmember on the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider was struck and killed by a train on location in Georgia, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The name of the victim, a woman, has not been released.
Seven other people — all crewmembers — were injured in the accident, according to WTOC in Savannah. One was taken via Lifestar to Memorial University Medical Center and others were transferred to area hospitals. The crewmembers were injured on the train trestle over the Altamaha River near the Doctortown Road crossing in Wayne County, the outlet reports. Law enforcement told WSAV crewmembers had placed a mattress on the tracks before the train came.
PHOTOS: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2014
“All of us on the production team are devastated by the tragic accident that happened today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our crew member,” Midnight Rider Productions said in a statement.
CSX, which operated the train, released a statement following the accident: “CSX is deeply saddened by a tragedy that occurred late today on a CSX rail bridge in Doctortown, Ga. and is cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate. Initial reports indicate that at least three people were injured, one fatally. CSX personnel are working with first responders to meet the needs of those injured. A train was en route from Memphis to Savannah when the incident occurred.”
A rep for the production did not immediately respond to request for comment, and neither did the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department in Georgia.
Midnight Rider looks at Allman’s life from two perspectives — from his younger days (where he is played by Tyson Ritter ) to his realization at 64 (portrayed by William Hurt ) that he has to get clean for good or possibly lose his life. It also stars Eliza Dushku , Bradley Whitford , Joel David Moore, Zoey Deutch and Chad Lindberg.
Unclaimed Freight Productions’ Randall Miller and Jody Savin are making the film, with Miller directing from a script he wrote with Savin. Open Road Films is releasing the film domestically while The Exchange is handling international sales.
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Train Accident Kills Crew Member of Gregg Allman Biopic
Director and crew were filming dream sequence on bridge in Georgia
A second camera assistant was killed Thursday afternoon when a freight train struck and killed her on the set of the Gregg Allman biopic “ Midnight Rider ,” sources confirm to Variety .
Four other people were injured in the accident, one seriously. The event happened in Wayne County, Ga.
An eyewitness told Variety the movie crew was filming a dream sequence on a railroad trestle when a train unexpectedly crossed the bridge.
The crew, including director Randall Miller, had placed a bed on the tracks for the scene and was expecting two trains on the local bridge, one in each direction, when a third train arrived unexpectedly.
A whistle warned the crew members of the next train, giving them less than a minute, which was too late.
Miller, who also directed the 2008 film “Bottle Shock,” and the still photographer rushed to get the bed off the tracks while the rest of the crew tried to get off the bridge on a plank walk-way. They were still trying to get off the bridge when the train arrived. The second camera assistant was then struck and killed by the train.
Miller had fallen onto the tracks before the train arrived but the still photographer pulled him off, according to the witness, saving his life. The bed was then hit by the train and exploded. That debris hit and injured several people, including one seriously, who was airlifted to Savannah’s Memorial Health University Medical Center.
A hair dresser also suffered injuries during the accident and was admitted to the hospital while at least two other people from the crew, none seriously injured, were awaiting treatment in the emergency room at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Jesup, Ga.
Sheriff John Carter of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department said that his office received three separate 911 calls reporting the accident at 4:37 p.m. on Thursday. He said the freight train was operated by CSX Corp and that the rail line forms a single track as it crosses the river at that point in the trestle bridge where the incident occurred.
CSX issued a statement on the accident. “CSX is deeply saddened by a tragedy that occurred late today on a CSX rail bridge in Doctortown, Ga., and is cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate. Initial reports indicate that at least three people were injured, one fatally. CSX personnel are working with first responders to meet the needs of those injured. A train was en route from Memphis to Savannah when the incident occurred.”
Starring William Hurt and Tyson Ritter as Allman, “Midnight Rider” is set to be released by Open Road in the U.S.
Allman is also an executive producer on the film.
Update: A publicist for the production released a statement late on Thursday. “All of us on the production team are devastated by the tragic accident that happened today. Our thoughts are prayers are with the family of our crew member.”
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‘Midnight Rider’ Train Accident Death Details Released – Sarah Jones Autopsy
- Midnight Rider Train Accident Death Details Released Sarah Jones Autopsy
On February 20, 2014, Sarah Jones, a 27-year-old crew member on the set of a drama film called Midnight Rider , was struck and killed by an incoming train that interfered with a set piece on the rails. The drama surrounding Jones’ death and the possible workplace negligence created by the production team and director have been an ongoing sensation in American press and for train accident lawyers .
What Did The Details Of The Autopsy Reveal?
As of this week, results of an autopsy conducted on February 24, 2014 are finally available to the public. Her cause of death has been described in the public report as “multiple injuries sustained as a pedestrian struck by a railroad train while at work on a movie location,” and ruled an accident.
Ruled pedestrian death, Jones was allegedly struck on her right side by a railroad train while at work on location for a film shoot. The impact severed both of her feet and caused countless other injuries, including lacerations and fractures. A criminal investigation was immediately launched into her death, searching for signs of workplace negligence.
At the time of the ‘Midnight Rider’ train accident, the crew was shooting a dream sequence on railroad tracks in Wayne County, Georgia. A bed had been placed onto the tracks as part of the scenery and could not be moved fast enough when the crew was surprised by an oncoming train. The collision of the train into the bed pushed Jones directly onto the tracks, where she was struck.
There were no medical professionals or railroad officials on the set of the film.
Who Has Been Deemed Responsible For Rebecca’s Death?
Randall Miller, the director of the film, has pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. The terms of his plea allowed the same charges against producer Jody Savin to be dropped. Miller will serve two years in jail and eight on probation, as well as paying a fine of $20,000.
A video of the oncoming train can be viewed here . This video was presented in court to draw conclusions as to whether or not Jones was a victim of workplace negligence.
The Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff has represented cases related to both workplace negligence and train disasters, notably including last week’s Halifax train crash and the recent Metro-North train accidents. We represent many clients whose lives were affected by both incidents as well as hundreds more who have been the victims of poor safety measures at work.
If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of workplace negligence or if you have been involved in an accident on public transport, you should call us for a free consultation about your case. The personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael S. Lamonsoff are both experienced workplace attorneys and train accident attorneys.
We place the utmost importance on getting compensation for our clients’ physical and emotional damage following traumatizing events like these. To learn more about these committed and experienced lawyers, you can review their firm website at www.msllegal.com. For a free consultation, you can reach us at 212-962-1020.
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Lives lost behind-the-scenes: Timeline of fatal on-set movie accidents, injuries
While some on-set accidents garner public attention, others often go unnoticed.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died Thursday night after an apparent accident involving actor Alec Baldwin and a prop gun while on set for the film, “Rust.”
Baldwin had fired the prop gun, which struck Hutchins and the film’s director Joel Souza, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office on Thursday night.
Hutchins was transported via helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she later succumbed to her injuries, authorities said.
Souza also received emergency care, but was released from the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center on Friday morning, according to film cast member Frances Fisher on Twitter.
Since 1990, at least 43 people have died on sets in the U.S., according to a 2016 study done by the Associated Press, which analyzed data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. More than 150 people have been left with life-altering injuries.
MORE: Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dies after prop gun fired by Alec Baldwin malfunctions
Alec Baldwin spoke out on Twitter to express his condolences Friday morning.
"There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours," Baldwin said , adding that he is "fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred."
While several fatal accidents have garnered public attention, like the 1993 shooting death of actor Brandon Lee during filming for "The Crow," others behind-the-scenes often go unnoticed.
Stuntwoman Joi "S.J." Harris died while on the set of "Deadpool 2" in Vancouver, a spokesman for the British Columbia Coroners Service told ABC News in 2017.
Harris was a professional motorcycle road racer and died after she appeared to lose control of her motorcycle during a stunt and crashed through a window of a building during filming, according to a report released by WorkSafeBC , the legal authority in British Columbia that sets and enforces occupational health and safety standards.
Stuntwoman Olivia Jackson was nearly killed after sustaining injuries from a motorcycle crash while on the set of "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter." As a result of the accident, Jackson's left arm was amputated.
MORE: 'Resident Evil' stunt double says set crash severed her arm: Lawsuit
Jackson filed a lawsuit in 2019 against the writer and director of the movie, Paul W.S. Anderson, and producer, Jeremy Bolt, claiming that the crash was the result of the production team "elevating financial considerations over safety," ABC News reported in 2019 .
In April 2020, Jackson won a court ruling in South Africa's High Court, after the judge ruled that the South African-based film crew negligently planned and filmed the stunt, Variety had reported .
Sarah Jones, a camera assistant, died while on location to shoot the Gregg Allman biopic "Midnight Rider" in Jessup, Georgia. Jones was killed by an unexpected train after the production crew failed to get proper permission to shoot on the tracks.
Jones' parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2014 alleging the film site was "unreasonably dangerous," ABC News reported in 2014 . The lawsuit was eventually settled with several defendants about nine months later, according to ABC News story at the time .
The film's leading director Randall Miller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with Jones' death in 2015 and served half of his two-year sentence.
Michael Bridger, a diver and crew member on the set of "The Lone Ranger," drowned during production.
The Associated Press reported in 2016 that the film paid $61,445 penalty for his death, the highest fine related to a set accident.
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Conway Wickliffe, a special effects technician, was killed while shooting a stunt for the "Batman" sequel, "The Dark Night."
Wickliffe reportedly died in a car accident after his vehicle crashed into a tree at the end of a test run-through, Reuters reported in 2007 .
Brandon Lee, the son of late martial artist Bruce Lee, was shot in the abdomen after a prop gun misfired while on the set "The Crow."
Lee underwent six hours of surgery before he was declared dead at 28.
Lee's family spoke out Friday about the prop-gun related death of Hutchins.
"Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on 'Rust.' No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period," Shannon Lee, Brandon Lee's sister, tweeted.
Actor Jon-Erik Hexum died from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound while on the set of the television series, "Cover Up."
The 26-year-old actor fatally shot himself in the head with a pro-gun that was loaded with a blank.
A helicopter crash on the set of "Twilight Zone: The Movie" killed three actors, two of them children, and injured six.
The director, an associate producer, the helicopter pilot, the production manager and explosives specialist were tried and acquitted on charges of manslaughter in 1986 and 1987, according to a New York Times article from 1987. The slain actor's family eventually settled and the children's families collected millions from several civil lawsuits.
The incident led to an investigation and years of civil and criminal action against the filmmakers. As a result, new procedures and safety standards in filmmaking were introduced.
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Film director pleads guilty in georgia railroad bridge death.
Slates for Sarah
New: NTSB found probable cause of train accident was trespassing
Sarah Elizabeth Jones was killed when a train hit movie crew members last year
Director Randall Miller has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass
Railroad company denied permission to film on bridge, Savannah Morning News reports
The director of “Midnight Rider” has pleaded guilty to charges related to the 2014 death of a crew member while filming.
Randall Miller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass Monday morning in Wayne County (Georgia) Superior Court, Deputy Clerk of Courts Betty Taylor said.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced on March 24 the probable cause of the accident was trespassing by the film’s crew.
As part of the plea deal, Miller will spend two years behind bars and then serve eight years of probation. The deal prohibits him from directing films or being in any supervisory position in movies that would make him responsible for the safety of others for a period of 10 years.
Miller, who was also ordered to pay $20,000 in fines and perform 360 hours of community service, was remanded in to custody of the sheriff to begin his sentence.
A freight train hit members of the crew of the Gregg Allman biopic while they were working on a railroad bridge in February 2014. Camera assistant Sarah Elizabeth Jones, 27, was killed.
Film crew member killed by train
The production had applied to the railroad company for permission to film on the bridge but was denied, according to the Savannah Morning News.
Several other crew members were injured in the incident, CNN affiliate WTOC reported.
‘Midnight Rider’ pair surrender to authorities
Jones was mourned throughout the film community. Friends set up a Facebook group, Slates for Sarah , and her death was noted in the Academy Awards’ “In Memoriam” montage.
Three additional members of the production staff faced charges related to the incident. As part of the plea agreement with Miller, charges were dropped against Jody Savin, Miller’s wife and business partner, Taylor said. Miller and Savin are listed as owners of Unclaimed Fright Productions Inc., the film’s production company, according to the indictment.
Jay Sedrish, the film’s executive producer, also received 10 years of probation. As part of his plea deal, he will be banned from supervisory positions in films for 10 years. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $10,000.
A third member of the crew, first assistant director Hillary Schwartz, was found guilty after a bench trial, according to District Attorney Jackie Johnson’s office. Schwartz was sentenced to 10 years of probation and ordered to pay a fine of $5,000. Like the others, he was ordered not to be involved in the safety of film crews.
Schwartz had made a deal to provide testimony for the state if the case went to trial, according to the district attorney’s office.
Jones’ parents were in court for the pleas and the trial of those involved in the death of their daughter, addressing the court before the sentencing of each, according to Johnson’s office.
CNN’s Todd Leopold and Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.
Train hits film crew shooting on tracks, killing one.
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JESUP, Ga. — A movie crew was working on train tracks without permission from the railroad when a freight train crashed into the production team and its equipment, killing one and injuring seven others, a sheriff’s investigator said Friday.
The Savannah-based crew was shooting footage for “Midnight Rider,” a film based on the life of singer Gregg Allman, when the crash happened Thursday afternoon. Wayne County sheriff’s detectives were working Friday to piece together how and why it happened.
The deadly collision took place at a railroad trestle that crosses the Altamaha River in the rural county about 60 miles southwest of Savannah. The tracks, owned by CSX Railroad, cross private land owned by forest-products company Rayonier, which has a nearby paper mill. Joe Gardner, the lead detective on the case, said the crew had Rayonier’s permission to film on its property next to the train tracks.
“CSX has told me they were aware they were out there, but they did not have permission to be on the train tracks,” Gardner told reporters.
The train struck and killed a woman identified by the sheriff’s department as 27-year-old Sarah Elizabeth Jones of Atlanta. Gardner said he didn’t know what job she performed on the film crew. Seven others were injured, one seriously enough to be taken by helicopter to a Savannah hospital. Further information on their conditions was not immediately available Friday.
Trespassing onto railroad tracks is illegal under Georgia law and punishable as a misdemeanor.
Production of “Midnight Rider,” starring actor William Hurt as the Allman Brothers singer in his later years and All-American rejects vocalist Tyson Ritter as a young Allman, began this month in coastal Georgia. The film is based on Allman’s 2012 memoir, “My Cross to Bear,” with production based at Meddin Studios in Savannah.
The film studio Friday referred calls to a Los Angeles publicist, Nadine Jolson, who did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment but emailed a brief statement.
“All of us on the production team are devastated by the tragic accident that happened today,” the studio’s statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our crew member.”
CSX issued a statement saying the railroad company was “deeply saddened” by the crash and cooperating with investigators. It provided no further details other than to say the train involved was traveling to Savannah from Memphis, Tenn.
A CSX spokeswoman, Kristin Seay, declined to comment further and would not confirm that film crew had no permission from the railroad to be working on the train tracks.
Authorities provided few details about the collision. Gardner said it wasn’t clear if crew members were actually on the trestle bridging the river or just on the tracks at the river’s edge. He said the train smashed some of the crew’s equipment, and it’s possible some of the injuries were caused by flying debris. Among the items found on the tracks was what appeared to be a mattress for a bed, Gardner said.
It also wasn’t clear if the film crew was waiting to film a train or was caught unaware by one approaching, Gardner said.
“That’s a very active train track,” he said. “There’s probably anywhere from up to 10 trains a day that go through on those tracks.”
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Director of Gregg Allman Film Pleads Guilty in Train Crash Death
JESUP, Ga. — A year after a freight train plowed into crew members for a movie about singer Gregg Allman, killing a young camera assistant, the film's director was sentenced to two years in jail Monday as part of a plea deal.
In a rare case of a filmmaker being prosecuted for a death on a movie set, "Midnight Rider" director Randall Miller pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing as part of the last-minute deal in southeast Georgia.
Prosecutors agreed to drop charges against Miller's wife and business partner, Jody Savin. The movie's executive producer, Jay Sedrish, also pleaded guilty and got 10 years on probation.
All three were to stand trial for the Feb. 20, 2014, train collision that killed 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones of Atlanta and injured six other crew members on a railroad bridge in rural southeast Georgia. Her death galvanized behind-the-scenes film workers nationwide to push for improved safety standards on sets.
"We hope the sacrifice of our daughter's life will continue to change the film industry," Jones' father, Richard Jones, told reporters outside the courthouse. "I believe it sends a message, frankly, that if you do not respect those you're in charge of, you may end up behind bars."
Prosecutors said all three defendants knew that CSX Transportation, which owned the trestle spanning the Altamaha River, had denied them permission in writing to film on its tracks.
Assistant District Attorney John B. Johnson said Miller and the other filmmakers even attempted to rewrite the script to drop the scene they planned to shoot with actor William Hurt, in the role of Allman, in a hospital bed placed on the tracks.
Miller decided to shoot the scene anyway, Johnson said, after the owner of the property surrounding the tracks said the movie crew could access its land. He said Miller and his crew went onto the railroad bridge after mistakenly thinking no more trains would pass that day.
A train traveling at 55 mph smashed into a metal-framed bed on the tracks, sending shrapnel flying as crew members scrambled for safety and clung to the bridge's metal railing high above the Altamaha River.
"Sarah Jones was hit by the edge of the fuel tank and was run over by the train," Johnson told the judge. "She died instantly."
After his plea was accepted, Miller followed a sheriff's deputy from the courtroom to begin his two-year sentence at the Wayne County jail. He also agreed to serve an additional eight years on probation and pay a $20,000 fine.
Miller's attorney, Ed Garland, said he expects the director could be released from jail within a year. He said Miller accepted the plea deal to prevent prosecution of his wife, who left the courthouse in tears. Garland said the filmmaker never intended to put his crew at risk.
"Randall Miller at the time this happened believed there were not any more trains that would come down that track," Garland said. "But he accepts responsibility."
Sedrish's attorney, John Ossick, declined to comment as he left the courthouse.
Charges are still pending against a fourth "Midnight Rider" defendant, assistant director Hillary Schwartz. Prosecutors planned to try her after the other three.
The "Midnight Rider" movie has been in limbo since the crash. Allman sued Miller to prevent the director from reviving the film. They settled out of court last year, and terms were not disclosed.
- 'Midnight Rider' Filmmakers Go Briefly to Jail
- Gregg Allman Biopic: 'Midnight Rider' Director Indicted for Crash
- 'Midnight Rider' Movie Crew Member Hit and Killed by Train
— The Associated Press
- Australia edition
- International edition
William Hurt describes fatal Midnight Rider train accident
Actor shares eyewitness account of the collision on a railway track that led to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones during filming of Gregg Allman biopic
Actor William Hurt has revealed his perspective on the incident that led to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones during the filming of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider. Hurt had been cast in the lead role of musician Allman in the now-suspended production, and was present at the scene of the crash that killed Jones.
Speaking to the Canadian Press news agency, Hurt said: “I just had an unsettled feeling from the very time I got there. I stopped everything and I said in front of everybody, I said, ‘Stop.’ And I asked [assistant director] Hillary [Schwartz] in front of the whole crowd, ‘Are we safe?’ Because it’s her job as the first AD to tell us that. She said, ‘Yes.’” Schwartz was later sentenced to 10 years’ probation and a $5,000 fine, as well as being banned from working in a responsible position in a film crew for 10 years, for her part in the incident.
Jones’s death occurred when a train struck a hospital bed placed across a railway track on the Doctortown trestle over the Altamaha river in Wayne County, Georgia , in February 2014; she was hit by debris from the bed and knocked into the train’s path. Film-makers had been denied permission to film there by CSX, the company who owned the railway, and the film’s director, Randall Miller, received a two-year jail sentence and eight years’ probation for involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing.
Hurt says that he was told the cast and crew had a 60-second window to clear the area if a train appeared, but started work on the scene despite his misgivings. Having laid down on the bed, he said Schwartz then called a warning of an approaching train.
“I was barefoot and I turned around, I twisted my head and I said, ‘Someone’s going to die now,’” he said.
“I tried to yank the bed up, my feet were getting clobbered by the splinters in the ties [sleepers]. I couldn’t move the bed at all, I just started screaming, ‘You can’t stop it, you can’t stop it, you can’t stop it, you can’t stop it.’ And I picked my way across the ties, trying not to fall to impede people climbing over me who were trying to escape, too.
“And then I got into the rocks which were razor sharp and I turned and I’m going, ‘Oh, Jesus God.’ I’m looking at them, I was only a few feet away from the train and I saw them, I felt the wind buffered and I just covered my eyes and started screaming ‘No, no, no, no, no, no.’”
Hurt subsequently quit Midnight Rider in April 2014, after the film’s producers attempted to restart production. Gregg Allman also joined calls for the film to be shut down , and the project now appears all but abandoned.
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Crew member killed by train during filming of Gregg Allman biopic 'Midnight Rider,' seven others injured
One crew member was killed and seven others injured when a freight train rumbled over a train trestle used in filming of the Gregg Allman biopic, ‘Midnight Rider,’ Thursday. (WAYNE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)
Local authorities in Jesup, Ga., are investigating a horrific train accident that turned the first day of filming on the Gregg Allman biopic "Midnight Rider" into a grisly scene out of a horror movie.
One crew member was killed and seven others injured after a freight train rumbled over a train trestle where a dream sequence on was being filmed on the tracks on the first day of production, Variety first reported.
Police identified Sarah Elizabeth Jones, 27, a second camera assistant, as the woman who was struck and killed by the train.
"She commanded such respect with her work ethic, but she was still always the light in the room," says Gavin McCulley, a military consultant on television shows who met Jones in 2008 on "Army Wives" and struck up a friendship with the Atlanta native. "It could be pouring rain and she'd be standing there with a smile on her face."
Sarah Elizabeth Jones, 27, was identified as the woman struck and killed by the train. (Lee Dashiell)
"I am just devastated."
The tragedy occurred at approximately 4:00 p.m., the Wayne County Sherriff's Department said, when the crew, led by director Randall Miller, had permission from the CSX Railway Company to film in the area. The crew moved on to the track to film after two scheduled trains passed through the area.
Jones and the other crew members from the Atlanta-based Meddin Studios were scrambling for safety after a third train blew its whistle giving them seconds to react, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
A colleague who knew Jones (pictured) from their time on ‘Army Wives’ called her ‘the light in the room.’ (Colin Duran)
Miller himself fell on the tracks, but was pulled to safety by a photographer, a witness told Variety .
Several of the injuries were apparently caused when the train slammed into a mattress being used in the dream sequence, spraying debris like shrapnel.
"All of us on the production team are devastated by the tragic accident that happened today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our crewmember," a spokesperson for Midnight Rider Productions said in a statement.
Based on Allman's 2013 autobiography, "Midnight Rider" stars William Hurt, Eliza Dushku and Zoey Deutch.
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When film sets became horror stories – from Halyna Hutchins being shot by Alec Baldwin to crew killed by speeding train
- Published : 11:30, 22 Oct 2021
- Updated : 15:39, 22 Oct 2021
- Published : Invalid Date,
WITH explosions, weapons and fast cars everywhere, film sets can be extremely dangerous places – as tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins proves.
The mum-of-one was accidentally shot dead by Alec Baldwin during filming for his latest movie Rust.
The tragic death was caused by a prop gun firing during filming, which also left its director and writer Joel Souza in critical condition.
The incident has harrowing parallels to an accident on set of the 1994 film The Crow, which saw promising young actor Brandon Lee shot dead.
A prop gun was improperly prepared after being used for previous shots, and as a result the 28-year-old took a "dummy" bullet to the stomach which proved fatal.
A tweet from Lee's account, which is handled by his sister, said in response to the recent tragedy: "Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on 'Rust'.
"No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period."
Here we reveal some of the darkest film set stories that haunt Hollywood, from being hit by trains while filming on live tracks to developing cancer after shooting near a nuclear test site.
Vile assault over a cup of tea
In March this year, a stagehand on the Anne Hathaway film The Witches was found guilty of slashing a colleague's throat in a row over a cup of tea.
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Johnny Walker, 56, attacked Daren Langford after Langford confronted him about taking the last cup of tea on a refreshment table for himself – despite already having one.
Walker responded by cutting Langford's neck with a Stanley knife, causing a wound so deep that Langford called his wife to tell her he loved her, fearing he was about to die.
Paramedics were called and Langford mercifully survived the horrific assault.
Freight train killing
What happened on the very first day of filming for Midnight Rider (2014) is one of the worst crimes in modern cinema.
The biopic of musician Gregg Allman was filming a dream sequence where star William Hurt was lying in a hospital bed on a railway bridge.
It would later emerge that the film's producers had repeatedly been denied permission to shoot on the tracks, but chose to do so anyway.
During the scene, a train sped towards the crew on the bridge at 58mph, giving them less than a minute to escape – and the only route to safety was to run towards the train.
It smashed into the hospital bed which exploded into shrapnel – a piece hit camera assistant Sarah Jones, who was knocked into the path of the train and killed.
Seven other members of the crew were injured – including hair stylist Sarah Gilliard, whose arm was hit by the train, leaving her able to see "bone sticking out of her sweater", according to the Hollywood Reporter .
Director Randall Miller pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing and received a 10-year sentence, of which he served one year in prison.
Star shot dead on set
The Crow (1994) was supposed to be the film that would be the big break for Bruce Lee's son, Brandon.
But 28-year-old Brandon was infamously killed in one of Hollywood's most notorious on-set freak accidents.
Just over a week before the film was finished, Brandon was involved in a scene where another actor had to fire blanks at him from a .44 Magnum.
A dummy bullet from a previous scene was lodged in the barrel of the prop gun without anyone realising.
When the blank round was fired at Brandon, it shot the dummy bullet at him with virtually the same force as a live round.
He was hit in the abdomen and, despite six hours of emergency surgery, he died on the operating table.
Butchered by chopper
Inspired by the mind-bending TV series of the same name, John Landis and Steven Spielberg's 1983 film adaptation of The Twilight Zone suffered a horrific catastrophe during filming.
In one scene, actor Vic Morrow was supposed to rescue two children from a burning village during the Vietnam War as a helicopter flew overhead.
In an action-packed shot, a fireball from an explosion engulfed the chopper and the pilot lost control.
The spiralling helicopter dropped from the air and, in front of 100 people on set, crashed down right on top of Morrow and two illegally hired child actors, Myca Dinh Le, seven, and Shin-Yi Chen, six.
Morrow and Le were decapitated by the helicopter's rotor blades while Chen was crushed to death.
The horrific incident led to legal battles which ran for nearly a decade.
But ultimately the members of the production team accused, including director Landis, were acquitted of manslaughter.
Atomic cancer scare
Not only is The Conqueror (1956) considered one of the worst movies of all time, it is also believed to be one of the most dangerous for its cast and crew.
Starring John Wayne as Genghis Khan, exterior scenes were shot in the Nevada desert – downwind of a nuclear test site where many atomic bombs had been detonated in the years leading up to the shoot.
The filmmakers knew about the tests, but the government had repeatedly assured locals there was no danger from radioactive fallout.
Of the 220 cast and crew on the film, 91 developed cancer within 25 years, and 46 of them – including John Wayne – died from their disease.
There's no way to know for sure how much radiation was the cause, with Wayne himself blaming his six-pack-a-day smoking habit for his fatal cancer, but some experts connected the illnesses with the filming location.
Death plunge in front of family
Eddie Murphy's gothic comedy Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) is partly remembered today as a tragedy for its horrific stunt death.
The film follows Murphy's vampire character targeting an NYPD detective played by Angela Bassett.
It was Bassett's stunt double, Sonja Davis who tragically died during the shoot, falling 42 feet from a building to her death – in front of her mother who was visiting the set.
Her brother, Patrick, was there too – he videotaped the stunt in which Davis fell backwards on to an airbag below which was supposed to cushion her fall.
Instead she bounced off the bag into the building, suffering multiple injuries – her mum Wanda Sapp said Davis passed away aged 32 after 19 days in a coma.
“The last words I heard my baby say was when she yelled down to the stunt coordinator, ‘Are you sure?’” Sapp told the Los Angeles Times in 1995. “I could feel Sonja wasn’t comfortable with the stunt.”
Bomb blast horror
More or less everything explodes in The Expendables 2 (2012), meaning lots of dangerous blasts are involved in the shoot.
The second instalment of the mercenary action movie filmed sequences in Bulgaria – where one stuntman infamously lost his life.
Kun Liu was killed while filming on Lake Ognyanovo for a scene where there's an explosion on a boat.
Colleague Nuo Sun was also injured in the same blast and had to undergo a life-saving five-hour surgery.
Batmobile shoot crash
Heath Ledger was posthumously awarded an Oscar for his portrayal as the Joker – but his wasn't the only death associated with The Dark Knight (2008).
Conway Wickliffe, a 41-year-old special effects technician, lost his life while filming a test run of the sequence where the Batmobile is blown up.
He was leaning out of a 4x4 truck window and operating a camera shooting a stunt car when tragedy struck.
The truck he was in failed to make a sharp turn at the end of its run, carrying on its path and crashing into a tree.
Wickliffe suffered severe injuries in the impact and was pronounced dead at the QinetiQ site at Longcross near Chertsey, Surrey.
Final moments in film
One of the most chilling film production deaths was that of Vin Diesel's xXx (2002) stunt double, Harry O’Connor – because his final moments were used in the film.
The stunt which claimed his life involved a parasailing sequence near the Palacký Bridge in Prague.
O'Connor completed the first take of the stunt flawlessly, and shots of that attempt were included in the final cut of the film.
On the second take, retired Navy SEAL O'Connor hit his head on the bridge and was killed.
"We had 500 stuntmen involved with this picture; 499 didn't get a scratch," director Rob Cohen says in his commentary on the movie.
"It shows you the lengths to which we will go to bring this kind of intense experience to the viewer."
Deadly bike smash
That was also tragically the case for pro motorcycle road racer Joi Harris, who died while filming a stunt on Deadpool 2 (2018).
Doubling for Zazie Beetz as Domino , it was her first job as a stunt driver after a successful racing career.
Like O'Connor, Harris had already completed the stunt, which required she didn't wear a helmet, when tragedy struck.
On her fifth run, she lost control of her bike, hit a curb, and was thrown through a plate glass window at the Shaw Tower in Vancouver.
Paramedics battled to save her life but she died at the scene – she was 40 years old.
Face ripped open
South African stuntwoman Olivia Jackson almost suffered a similar fate during a similar bike accident while filming Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016).
Like Harris' fateful stunt, Jackson's scene called for her to not wear a helmet and she too had completed takes before the accident.
She had to speed towards a camera mounted on a crane on a truck coming towards her – the plan was for the camera to raise over out of her way and rotate so it filmed her as she passed beneath it.
On the third take, the camera wasn't raised fast enough and she smashed into it, damaging her left harm so severely it needed amputating and ripping off half her face, exposing her teeth.
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She was put in a medically-induced coma for 17 days while doctors performed life-saving surgery.
Last year, Jackson told described her ongoing legal battles around the crash and said she was working on a documentary about her recovery.
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Director Gets Two Years in Jail for Train Track Shoot That Killed Crew Member
There have been a number of cases in recent years of people getting struck and killed by trains after doing photo or film shoots on train tracks. One of the cases last year involved the filming of a movie titled “Midnight Rider.” While filming on a narrow trestle bridge, a train passed through and killed one of the crew members.
The incident happened on February 20, 2014, when the movie’s crew ventured on a narrow railroad trestle to film a scene. A train approached unexpectedly, and the crew wasn’t able to get off the tracks in time to reach safety.
A number of crew members were injured, and a 27-year-old camera assistant named Sarah Jones was struck by the train and killed.
One of the pieces of evidence shown in court was a horrifying video recorded by a videographer on the team. It shows the crew members scrambling to flee the tracks as the sound of the train’s whistle can be heard. The video cuts out just as the train reaches the crew:
The train operator has since produced evidence showing that it had refused permission after the film’s crew had requested it. Miller’s argument is that his location manager never informed him of the lack of permission, and that he’s simply the scapegoat after a tragic failure in communication.
After delivering the sentencing, Judge Anthony Harrison said he hoped the case would help prevent this type of accident in the future. “I hope that this day will contribute to your goal of sending a message of safety to the industry” and “give some meaning to this tragedy,” he said to the Jones family.
If you’re ever choosing a location for a photo or video shoot, make sure active train tracks stay off your list — the risks just aren’t worth it.
(via Variety and NYTimes via TOP )
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Norfolk Southern conductor dead after train collides with dump truck in Cleveland, Ohio, NTSB investigating
Norfolk southern confirms conductor louis shuster was fatally injured.
Additional Norfolk Southern train derails in Ohio
A shelter-in-place order has since been lifted after the train derailed in Springfield, Ohio.
A Norfolk Southern employee died Tuesday morning when a train collided with a dump truck in Cleveland, Ohio, Fox News Digital confirmed, as the fatal crash is now under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is sending officials to the scene.
Louis Shuster, a Norfolk Southern conductor, was fatally injured early Tuesday morning at the Cleveland-Cliffs Cleveland Works property in Cleveland, Ohio, a spokesperson for Norfolk Southern confirmed in an email. "At this time, officials are reporting that the conductor was struck by a dump truck as a Norfolk Southern train was moving through a crossing at the facility."
"Norfolk Southern has been in touch with the conductor’s family and will do all it can to support them and his colleagues. We are grieving the loss of a colleague today. Our hearts go out to his loved ones during this extremely difficult time," the statement said.
"The company is working with the Cleveland Police Department and Cleveland-Cliffs representatives to confirm the details and learn everything possible about the incident. Further, the company has been in contact with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, SMART-TD union leadership, and Cleveland-Cliffs leadership," Norfolk Southern added. "More information will be released in coordination with law enforcement as it becomes available."
ANOTHER OHIO TRAIN DERAILMENT IN SPRINGFIELD INVOLVED NO HAZARDOUS MATERIALS, SPILLAGE, OFFICIALS SAY
The National Transportation Safety Board later tweeted, "NTSB investigating a Norfolk Southern employee fatality that occurred this morning in Cleveland, Ohio. NTSB investigators are traveling to the scene."
Cleveland police told WKYC that its accident investigation unit responded to 2615 W. 3rd Street "for a crash involving a vehicle striking a train with a fatality."
The collision reportedly occurred while a Norfolk Southern train was passing through a Cleveland-Cliffs Cleveland Works property around 1:19 a.m.
"As a result of the collision, a Norfolk Southern employee lost his life," a spokesperson for Cleveland-Cliffs, a flat-rolled steel producer and supplier of iron ore pellets, told WKYC. "The location is being controlled by Cleveland police and Norfolk Southern."
A Norfolk Southern train reportedly collided with a dump truck while passing through a Cleveland-Cliffs yard. (Google )
WOIO also reported Cleveland-Cliffs confirmed the death of the Norfolk Southern employee but did not provide an update on the condition of the dump truck operator.
Fox News Digital also reached out to Cleveland-Cliffs for more information.
Norfolk Southern announced plans on Monday to improve the use of detectors placed along railroad tracks to spot overheating bearings and other problems in response to the Feb. 3 fiery derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
In Pennsylvania, Gov. Josh Shapiro also announced Monday that Norfolk Southern has pledged several million dollars to cover the cost of the response and recovery in Pennsylvania after last month’s derailment.
NORFOLK SOUTHERN CEO AGREES TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS ON OHIO TRAIN DERAILMENT
A large plume of smoke rises over East Palestine, Ohio, after a controlled detonation of a portion of the derailed Norfolk Southern train on Feb. 6, 2023. Another Norfolk Southern train reportedly struck a dump truck in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
The company previously announced more than $1 million for Ohio to replace fire equipment used in the response to the fiery wreck, plus $1 million for East Palestine and more than $1.2 million for evacuation costs for nearly 900 families and businesses.
Multiple cars of a Norfolk Southern train lie toppled after derailing at a train crossing with Ohio 41 in Clark County, Ohio, March 4, 2023. (Bill Lackey/Springfield-News Sun via AP)
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On Saturday, 28 cars of a Norfolk Southern cargo train derailed near Springfield, Ohio -- between Dayton and Columbus -- and prompted a temporary shelter-in-place order, but officials said the derailment did not involve any hazardous materials. But the 212-car train also had cars containing liquid propane and ethanol that didn't derail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Danielle Wallace is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @danimwallace.
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43-year-old North Carolina man hit, killed by Amtrak train
by: Emily Mikkelsen , Dolan Reynolds
Posted: Mar 7, 2023 / 01:04 PM EST
Updated: Mar 7, 2023 / 01:04 PM EST
GIBSONVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — A 43-year-old man was hit and killed Tuesday morning by an Amtrak train in Gibsonville, authorities said.
According to the company, the train was traveling from Raleigh to Charlotte at about 11:30 a.m. when it “came into contact” with a person on the tracks. No passengers or crew members on the train were hurt.
Gibsonville police responded at about 11:25 a.m. to the area of Burke Street and Lewis Street after they were told the train had suddenly stopped. Officers found the man, whose name has not been released, dead on the tracks.
“Amtrak is working with local law enforcement to investigate the incident,” the rail company said in a news release.
No additional information was immediately available.
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William Hurt played musician Gregg Allman in the unfinished movie "Midnight Rider." He was filming this scene on railroad tracks when a train killed a crew member and severely injured...
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Evidence obtained by ABC News -- "Midnight Rider" filmmakers took footage shot the day of the horrific train accident that killed crewmember Sarah Jones and injured seven others and edited it into a scene, the only one that was ever made for the ill-fated movie.
A crewmember on the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider was struck and killed by a train on location in Georgia, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The name of the victim, a woman, has not...
Ted Johnson, David S. Cohen Courtesy of WSAV3 and Jerry Hogan A second camera assistant was killed Thursday afternoon when a freight train struck and killed her on the set of the Gregg Allman...
'Midnight Rider' Train Accident Death Details Released - Sarah Jones Autopsy On February 20, 2014, Sarah Jones, a 27-year-old crew member on the set of a drama film called Midnight Rider, was struck and killed by an incoming train that interfered with a set piece on the rails.
Date: 02/20/14 22:03. Re: CSX train strikes film crew in Doctortown, GA; one. Author: Clinchfield3000. "An eyewitness told Variety the movie crew was filming a dream sequence on a railroad trestle when a train unexpectedly crossed the bridge. The crew, including director Randall Miller, had placed a bed on the tracks for the scene and was ...
One crew member from a Gregg Allman biopic was killed and seven others were injured when a train barreled down tracks where the production had set up, authorities said. The circumstances of...
After a freight train ran over Sarah Jones as she worked with a crew shooting a movie scene on a Georgia railroad bridge, the film's director spent a year in jail for the 27-year-old camera ...
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Camera assistant Sarah Elizabeth Jones, 27, was killed. video Film crew member killed by train The production had applied to the railroad company for permission to film on the bridge but...
The train struck and killed a woman identified by the sheriff's department as 27-year-old Sarah Elizabeth Jones of Atlanta. Gardner said he didn't know what job she performed on the film...
The movie's executive producer, Jay Sedrish, also pleaded guilty and got 10 years on probation. All three were to stand trial for the Feb. 20, 2014, train collision that killed 27-year-old camera ...
William Hurt describes fatal Midnight Rider train accident Actor shares eyewitness account of the collision on a railway track that led to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones during filming...
One crew member was killed and seven others injured after a freight train rumbled over a train trestle where a dream sequence on was being filmed on the tracks on the first day of...
Sarah Jones was killed in the horrendous incident on the train tracks What happened on the very first day of filming for Midnight Rider (2014) is one of the worst crimes in modern cinema. The...
A number of crew members were injured, and a 27-year-old camera assistant named Sarah Jones was struck by the train and killed. One of the pieces of evidence shown in court was a horrifying video ...
A Norfolk Southern employee was reportedly killed Tuesday morning when a train crashed into a dump truck while passing through a Cleveland-Cliffs Cleveland Works property.
No passengers or crew members on the […] GIBSONVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — A 43-year-old man was hit and killed Tuesday morning by an Amtrak train in Gibsonville, authorities said.