The family of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant who was killed during the filming of the Gregg Allman biopic "Midnight Rider", has slapped the director, producers, and other key individuals and organizations associated with the production with a wrongful death lawsuit. Her parents, Richard and Elizabeth Jones, filed the suit on Wednesday, May 21 at Chatham County State Court in Georgia, where the accident happened in February this year.
Among the defendants are The Allman Brothers Band founder who serves as one of the executive producers, director Randall Miller, his writer-producer wife Jody Savin, and their production company Unclaimed Freight Productions. Also named in the lawsuit are CSX Transportation which owns the railroad tracks where the fatal accident occurred; Rayonier Performance Fibers which owns the land surrounding the crash site, and the film's distributor Open Road Films.
They are accused of negligently causing Sarah's death. The plaintiffs claim the defendants "selected an unreasonably dangerous site for the filming location; failed to secure approval for filming from CSX; concealed their lack of approval from CSX from the cast and crew ...and otherwise failed to take measures to protect the safety of the Midnight Rider cast and crew."
According to the suit, the defendants "showed willful misconduct, wantonness, oppression or that entire want of care which raises the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences." The plaintiffs are seeking "general and specific damages in amount to be determined by jury," and the payment of any authorized attorneys' fees, interest, and any extra relief, deemed appropriate by court.
The crew members were filming with William Hurt on the railroad bridge over the Altamaha River when the accident happened. The crew didn't have enough time to get off the tracks safely when a train came barreling through the crowd. Jones was killed and some others were injured. Hurt raised concerns over the safety of the crew shortly after it happened and subsequently pulled out of the project.
Allman himself previously wrote a letter asking Miller to stop production, expected to resume in Los Angeles in June, out of respect for Sarah and her grieving family. He also filed his own lawsuit against the director to retain the rights to his life story, claiming the rights had expired due to missed production deadlines and the train crash had damaged his reputation. However, both parties have settled the suit out of court.