×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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.”

 

More Film

  • Steve Bannon appears in The Brink

    Sundance Film Review: Stephen K. Bannon in 'The Brink'

    Stephen K. Bannon drinks Kombucha (who knew?), the fermented tea beverage for health fanatics that tastes like…well, if they ever invented a soft drink called Germs, that’s what Kombucha tastes like. In “The Brink,” Alison Klayman’s fly-on-the-wall, rise-and-fall-and-rise-of-a-white-nationalist documentary, Bannon explains that he likes Kombucha because it gives him a lift; he drinks it for [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Oscar OScars Placeholder

    Cinematographers Praise Academy Reversal: 'We Thank You for Your Show of Respect'

    Cinematographers who fought the decision to curtail four Oscar presentations have praised the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for reversing the exclusions. “We thank you for your show of respect for the hard-working members of the film community, whose dedication and exceptional talents deserve the public recognition this reversal now allows them to enjoy,” [...]

  • Peter Parker and Miles Morales in

    'Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse' Colored Outside the Lines

    The well-worn superhero genre and one of its best-known icons are unlikely vehicles for creating a visually fresh animated feature. But Sony Pictures Animation’s work on the Oscar-nominated animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” shows throwing out the rule book and letting everyone play in the creative sandbox can pay off big. “I think we [...]

  • Denis Villeneuve

    Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune' Gets November 2020 Release Date

    Warner Bros. has scheduled Legendary’s science-fiction tentpole “Dune” for a Nov. 20, 2020, release in 3D and Imax. “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa is in negotiations to join the “Dune” reboot with Timothee Chalamet, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Ferguson, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, and Zendaya. Production is expected to launch in the spring [...]

  • James Bond Spectre

    Bond 25 Moved Back Two Months to April 2020

    James Bond will arrive two months later than planned as MGM moved back the release date on the untitled Bond 25 movie from Feb. 14 to April 8, 2020 — a Wednesday before the start of Easter weekend. It’s the second delay for Bond 25. MGM and Eon originally announced in 2017 that the film [...]

  • Fast and Furious 8

    'Fast and Furious 9' Release Date Pushed Back Six Weeks

    Universal Pictures has shifted “Fast and Furious 9” back six weeks from April 10 to May 22, 2020 — the start of the Memorial Day weekend. It’s the second backwards shift for the title. In 2017, Universal moved the film back a year from April 19, 2019, to April 10, 2020. Both dates fall on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content