The tragic death of camera assistant Sarah Jones on the set of Midnight Rider on February 20 has impacted director Randall Miller and producers with charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing. Sarah Jones was part of a 20-member crew, filming a dream sequence on a hundred year old bridge over the Altamaha River in Wayne County outside of Doctortown, Georgia. The film was touted to be a biopic on 70’s rocker Gregg Allman featuring, William Hurt.
Filming on a Live Track
Rayonier Inc., the owners of the land through which the tracks pass, and the operators of the railway line, CSX transportation, should have both been notified and permissions should have been received from both companies. The producers had obtained permissions only from Rayonier, but failed to notify the railway company. The crew were, in essence filming on a live railway line. They had less than sixty seconds to clear the tracks when they saw the train speeding towards them.
Both companies were named defendants in the case. The producers and director were charged with being directly involved and proximately caused the injuries and death of Ms. Jones. If found guilty, the defendants could receive sentences of up to 12 years in prison.