Midnight Rider trial: Video shows crew members running before deadly train crash

The train collision led to the death of 27-year-old Sarah Jones

Click to follow
The Independent US

A court in the state of Georgia was shown chilling video of the moment a film crew realised a train was heading their way during a shoot, with the eventual collision causing the death of a 27-year-old camera assistant.

Last year, Sarah Jones died after her head was struck by the train and she fell beneath its wheels. Jones was part of the crew working on the Gregg Allman movie, Midnight Rider, a biographical film about the singer from The Allman Brothers Band. Six others were injured.

Filming had only just begun when the tragedy occurred on a railroad bridge across the Altamaha River in Georgia. The train was travelling at 55mph when it struck Jones.

Following the incident, investigators discovered that CSX Transportation, the owners of the bridge where the crew had been filming, had denied the movie permission to work on the train tracks.

On Tuesday, a third filmmaker was sentenced for her role in Jones' death. Hillary Schwartz, an assistant director on Midnight Rider, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing and received 10 years of probation. Director Randall Miller and executive producer Jay Sedrish pleaded guilty on Monday.

The court was shown video of the seconds before the train hit. The camera crew can be seen rushing to remove a hospital bed and the rest of their equipment as the train appears in the distance. The noise of the train soon becomes deafening as the group struggle to make it off the bridge and out of harm's way. The camera soon cuts out.

Assistant District Attorney John B. Johnson said of the convictions: "Our office is very satisfied with the outcome. More importantly, the Jones family is satisfied with the outcome."

Director Miller received two years in the Wayne County jail along with eight years on probation. Sedrish received 10 years of probation, like Schwartz.

Gregg Allman sued Miller in court in 2014 to stop the disgraced director from starting the project again. The pair settled out of court, with the terms of the agreement not disclosed.

Additional reporting by the AP.