Train Accident Kills Crew Member of Gregg Allman Biopic

Midnight Rider Death
Courtesy of WSAV3 and Jerry Hogan

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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  1. dar dar says:

    Dude, you’re a typical union hack – nice going giving up a deceased persons name on a public forum. Fawking union idiot.

    • Unbelievable says:

      Doubtful this was a Union job if they couldn’t even go through the proper channels to ensure the safety of their crew.

    • dlerchlv426 says:

      I’m not sure what being in a union has anything to do with this. I’m a Best Boy in IA 479 in Atlanta Ga. Your comments have been very rude and insensitive. You blame the crew when production is to blame. As crew we do our jobs and production is supposed to facilitate safe locations for us to work in. We are told when and where to show up to work. Not the poor camera assistant that was killed. I knew and worked with her on several shows. She was very nice and super professional. Your comments are unwarranted and you have no idea how the film industry functions. This business can’t run efficiently without organized labor. That is what the word movie magic means. So be a man and stop being a jerk! Someone died for no reason. And production is to blame. To put things in perspective for you, it would be like blaming the workers of an oil rig for a spill when the company that owned the rig neglected to pay for maintence.

      • Eric Liscom says:

        I agree with your statement about the responsibility of the producers. I’m a railroader and have my share of similar experiences to this one. It is truly tragic and senseless that this person died…..In railroad work, we are governed by various safety rules, for example: If I, as engineer, accept a locomotive with known safety defects…. I take on responsibility and can lose my job if I’m caught using that equipment or if someone is hurt using that equipment. Doing a job or taking an action that is unsafe, because “we had to get it done” is never excusable and we are held personally responsible for our actions.
        My point here being, is there pressure within your industry to work on “unsafe” projects or work for companies that are known to operate in an unsafe or illegal manner?

  2. gtownmonkey says:

    there are no more details?
    like how it happened? what was the crew doing?
    Was the woman killed, PART of the crew?
    Working WITH the Crew in what capacity?
    Details are part of good reporting and may help
    prevent such a tragedy in the future.

    • Ryan Abrams says:

      Hey. Someone passed away. Don’t be a dick.

    • fairportfan says:

      Reporting breaking news as it comes in and reporting only what you know and not speculating in advance of facts is good journalism.

      It happened “Thursday afternoon” – since the story was filed at 3:02 PM Pacific Time (that is 5:02 PM in Georgia), the accident happened no more than five hours before the story was filed – and more likely one or two – and the Sheriff’s department is likely sitting on details until they have finished notifications.

      I’m sure that, as details become available, the story will be updated.

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