Savannah: Trial Starts to Decide if Railroad Shares Blame in Movie Crew Death

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A movie director served jail time for trespassing onto a Georgia railroad bridge and putting his film crew in the path of a freight train that slammed into the group and killed a young camera assistant. Now the dead woman’s parents are going to court saying the railroad should share the blame, even though it denied the filmmakers permission to work on its tracks.

Sarah Jones, 27, died on a trestle spanning the Altamaha River in rural Wayne County on Feb. 20, 2014. The train collision also injured six fellow crew members as filming began on “Midnight Rider,” a movie based on the life story of Allman Brothers Band singer Gregg Allman. The ill-fated production ended with the tragedy.

More than three years later, a Savannah judge has scheduled a civil trial to begin Monday in a wrongful death lawsuit by Jones’ parents against CSX Transportation. Barring a last-minute settlement, a jury will decide if the railroad, which operated the train and owned the bridge, should have taken precautions to avert the deadly crash.

Richard and Elizabeth Jones are seeking monetary damages in the lawsuit, but have not specified an amount.

Attorneys for Jacksonville, Florida-based CSX insist the collision wasn’t the company’s fault. Investigators found CSX had twice denied the “Midnight Rider” filmmakers’ requests for permission to shoot on its railroad trestle — each time in writing.

See more at USNWR.

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