Movie Crewmember Killed on Georgia Set Identified
The camera operator who died on the set of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider has been named as Sarah Elizabeth Jones.
The 27-year-old from Atlanta was working as a second camera assistant on the film when she was hit by a train, which was en route from Memphis to Savannah, at around 4.30 p.m. on Thursday.
Seven other people were injured in the accident, which occurred while members of the crew were shooting a scene on a train trestle over the Altamaha River near the Doctortown Road crossing in Wayne County, Ga., during which director Randall Miller was reportedly pulled to safety.
"Deputies arrived to find that there were several people from Open Road Films and the Meddin Studios from Savannah, Ga., filming a movie called Midnight Rider in the area and had gotten onto the train tracks," revealed a statement from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office to The Hollywood Reporter, which named Jones as the victim.
"A northbound train struck some of these persons. There was one fatality and seven others injured. One of the injured was flown to a Savannah hospital while others were taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital for treatment.
"This investigation is ongoing and CSX Railroad personnel, Rayonier Mill personnel, and the film crew personnel are all cooperating in the investigation. Due to the ongoing investigation, no further information can be released at this time."
The crew had reportedly placed a mattress over the train track to film a dream sequence when the northbound train arrived unexpectedly.
"All of us on the production team are devastated by the tragic accident that happened today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our crewmember," Midnight Rider Productions said in a statement.
CSX, which operated the train, released a statement following the accident: "CSX is deeply saddened by a tragedy that occurred late today on a CSX rail bridge in Doctortown, Ga., and is cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate. Initial reports indicate that at least three people were injured, one fatally. CSX personnel are working with first responders to meet the needs of those injured. A train was en route from Memphis to Savannah when the incident occurred."
Midnight Rider looks at Allman's life from two perspectives -- from his younger days (where he is played by Tyson Ritter) to his realization at 64 (portrayed by William Hurt) that he has to get clean for good or possibly lose his life. The film also stars Eliza Dushku, Bradley Whitford, Joel David Moore, Zoey Deutch and Chad Lindberg. Unclaimed Freight Productions' Miller and Jody Savin are producing the film, with Miller directing from a script he wrote with Savin. Open Road Films is releasing the film domestically; The Exchange is handling international sales.
Several castmembers tweeted the condolences Friday.
Devastated by the news of the tragedy on our @AllmanBiopic yesterday. Prayers to the crew/families & spirt/soul of the life that was lost.— Eliza Dushku (@elizadushku) February 21, 2014
Thoughts and prayers go out to my Midnight Run cast and crew. Such a tragedy.— Joel David Moore (@joeldavidmoore) February 21, 2014