×

Sarah Jones’ Family Awarded $11.2 Million in ‘Midnight Rider’ Suit

A Georgia jury has ruled in favor of Sarah Jones’ family in its civil suit against CSX Transportation in connection with the camera assistant’s 2014 death and awarded them $11.2 million.

The state court jury in Savannah, Ga., decided unanimously to award the family nearly $2 million for pain and suffering and $9.2 million for the economic loss from Sarah Jones’ life, according a spokeswoman for the attorneys for the family. The jury also assigned CSX 35% of the fault.

Other defendants are production company Film Allman and Rayonier.

Jones was killed and six others were injured on the set of “Midnight Rider” outside Doctortown, Ga., on a railroad trestle above the Altamaha River after a train came down the tracks at 58 mph during production. The crew had less than one minute to evacuate the location and the train ran into a metal bed being used by the crew for a scene that was part of a dream sequence in the Gregg Allman biopic. Jones was struck by shrapnel that propelled her toward the moving train.

Jones’ family sued CSX, alleging that the railroad did not follow company policy. Filmmaker Randall Miller settled with the family in late 2014 and spent a year in jail after pleading guilty to felony involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass.

The production company did not secure a permit from the owner of the tracks, CSX Transportation Corp. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued nearly $75,000 in safety fines. An appeals panel upheld the sanctions after they were challenged by Film Allman, the company that Miller and his wife, Jody Savin, set up to make the independent feature.

Jones’ family started the Safety for Sarah movement to advocate for increased safety in film production.

The parents, Richard and Elizabeth Jones, released a statement after the verdict:

“Elizabeth and I have spent the last 3 plus years wanting to understand how our daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Jones, tragically lost her life. That search has now come to a close.

Sarah’s life was a bright beacon of hope that was snuffed out too soon.

Elizabeth and I want to thank our attorney, Jeff Harris, his partners and exceptional staff, who worked so hard for Sarah. We also would like to thank our Columbia attorney Jake Moore for his guidance.

We felt that this trial was necessary in order to learn what happened that tragic day of February 20, 2014. It is only with the discovery of what could have been done differently that we might avoid another similar tragic loss of life.

We have learned much from this trial. No doubt that the decisions made by those in charge of Film Allman, LLC were foolish, criminal and, in our view, selfish. That said, this trial disclosed a number of exceptionally poor judgements and ignored opportunities by CSX Transportation to prevent this tragedy. Frankly, I believe that the evidence in this trial indicated that CSX has systemic issues that need corrected. We miss you Sarah.”

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Samuel-W.-Gelfman

    Samuel Gelfman, Roger Corman Film Producer, Dies at 88

    Samuel Gelfman, a New York producer known for his work on Roger Corman’s “Caged Heat,” “Cockfighter” and “Cannonball!,” died Thursday morning at UCLA Hospital in Westwood following complications from heart and respiratory disease, his son Peter Gelfman confirmed. He was 88. Gelfman was born in Brooklyn, New York and was raised in Caldwell New Jersey [...]

  • Margot Robbie stars in ONCE UPON

    Box Office: 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Pulls Ahead of 'Hobbs & Shaw' Overseas

    Sony’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” might not have hit No. 1 in North America, but Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is leading the way at the international box office, where it collected $53.7 million from 46 markets. That marks the best foreign opening of Tarantino’s career, coming in ahead of 2012’s “Django Unchained.” “Once [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content