Train Company Says It Denied 'Midnight Rider' Filming Permits Twice

Issue 10 BIZ Sarah Jones Inset Main Image - H 2014
Randy Thompson Photography; Bobby LaBonge

Issue 10 BIZ Sarah Jones Inset Main Image - H 2014

The crew was allegedly stealing shots when camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed

The production company behind Midnight Rider had twice been denied permission to shoot on the train tracks where camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed, according to documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

The filmmakers "twice sought permission from CSXT to film a scene for Midnight Rider on the section of CSXT's tracks which pass over the Rayonier property and the Altamaha River," CSX Transportation — the owner of the tracks in question — states in a recent legal filing. Until today's legal disclosure, it was unclear whether the production company did indeed have permission to shoot the fatal scene on Feb. 20. Jones was killed and six other crewmembers were injured in the incident.

"We continue to extend our sympathies to those involved in this tragedy. We do not comment on ongoing litigation," a CSX spokeswoman tells THR.

The disclosure comes from legal filings in Chatham County State Court in Georgia. Lawsuits have been filed against CSX and the film's producers by Jones' family and two injured crew members.

The film's director, Randall Miller, and two producers, Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish, have been indicted in criminal proceedings and pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. 

A status hearing on the criminal case is scheduled on Sept. 23 in Wayne County, Georgia. Miller's attorney did not immediately respond to THR's request for comment.


Twitter: @lalasoo

Sept. 3, 3:32 p.m. Updated with legal documents and direct quotes from the filings.