Sarah Elizabeth Jones Killed by Train While Filming Gregg Allman Biopic

Sarah Elizabeth Jones Killed by Train While Filming Gregg Allman Biopic

On Thursday, about 4:00 p.m., a freight train bore down upon film crew member, Sarah Elizabeth Jones, 27, who was working on a biopic about Southern rocker Gregg Allman. She was filming on railroad tracks on a bridge in southeast Georgia when she was hit and killed by the freight train.

Who is at fault for the death of Sarah Elizabeth Jones?

On Friday, investigators were attempting to determine who was at fault for the death of second camera assistant Sarah Elizabeth Jones, of Atlanta, Georgia. To say that it was the fault of the train’s engineer is not getting at the root cause of her untimely death, as trains are not vehicles which can break on a dime.

Why was she on the tracks in the first place? Why couldn’t Sarah get off of the tracks and out of the way before the train hit her? What was the policy of the film crew and director Randall Miller about filming at such a potentially dangerous location, and what safety procedures, if any, were in place?

These were just a few of the many questions that haunted investigators as they began their search for the answers of what led up to Sarah Elizabeth Jones’ death. The investigators poured over all of the information they could gather related to her death, including emails, video, and the statements of eyewitnesses.

According to her resume, Jones had previously been a camera assistant for two made-for-TV movies, several commercials, and “The Vampire Diaries.”

The tragic incident occurred on a railroad trestle high above the Altamaha River in Wayne county, Georgia, near to or in a town called Jesup. Besides the death of Jones, seven other crew members were injured and were treated at a local hospital.  Sarah Elizabeth Jones Killed by Train While Filming Gregg Allman Biopic

The companies behind the making of “Midnight Rider,” the biopic about Gregg Allman that the film crew was working on, had gotten the permission of the railroad operator to film close to the railroad tracks. The companies included the biopic’s U.S. distributor Open Road Films; the company in Pasadena producing the flick, Unclaimed Freight; and the Meddin Studios Film Crew, based in Georgia, who were filming the biopic.

According to Variety, the film crew had been provided with a train schedule. They had interrupted filming for two trains they had expected, but the third one caught them by surprise. They had been in the middle of the filming of a dream sequence at the time of the accident.

Director Randall Miller was one of the people who had to scramble out of the way of the approaching freight train. Miller claims that he was told that if they heard a train whistle blow, they had a minute to clear the tracks

Detective Joe Gardner of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department said that one of the issues they will focus on is “whether they had permission to be on the tracks.”

Details about the filming and the train’s speed, if known, have not been released at this time, but it is known that the train had departed from Memphis, Tennessee, and its destination was Savannah, Georgia.

A spokesperson for Open Road Films, Liz Bieber, stated that there was no release date yet for “Midnight Rider.” When asked about how the tragic death of Sarah Elizabeth Jones might adversely affect the future of the flick, she did not offer a comment.

According to police authorities with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, there is a gate leading up to where the tracks run and it is usually kept locked. CSX is the train company which operates the tracks, and the land around the tracks is the property of the Rayonier timber company.

A spokesperson for Rayonier stated that the film company had only been granted permission to film there for one day. He added that the film company were “well aware of the property boundaries.” While the film crew had permission to be on the Rayonier timber company’s land to film, according to one of the investigators, they didn’t have permission to be on the railroad tracks.

The “Midnight Rider” biopic is based on Gregg Allman’s 2013 autobiography of the same name. It will star Eliza Dushku, William Hurt, and Tony Deutch.

Sarah Elizabeth Jones tragically passed away Thursday when she was hit and killed by the freight train while filming the Gregg Allman biopic “Midnight Rider” Her death is raising many questions, and the circumstances of her passing are still under investigation.

Written by: Douglas Cobb


16 Responses to "Sarah Elizabeth Jones Killed by Train While Filming Gregg Allman Biopic"

  1. Dana Kristal   April 17, 2014 at 3:40 am

    I originally started writing “A Time Before CBGB “, using my sister Lisa Kristal’s computer in her apartment. It’s very strange that many of the scenes I wrote were changed just a little. My father was really called the KIng of Punk Rock. The CBGB moving truck was not CBGB Piano Moving. It was just CBGB Moving. My mother, Karen Kristal thought of the idea of original music to get around paying ASCAP. She was the legal owner of Sareb Rest Corp Doing Buisness as CBGB. My mother was the president of the corporation and there were no other officers. Lisa Kristal was never a vice president of the corporation and had nothing to do with bringing bands to CBGB. That was all just a fabrication in the CBGB biopic! A man by the name of Bill Page brought the bands to CBGB that would later be called Punk Bands, even before Television showed up. When my father, didn’t pay taxes, Karen Kristal, would go downtown to pay the IRS and get CBGB reopened {not my father Hilly Kristal.}, sometimes with the help of Merv the house manager.The biggest insult was having my father draw Hilly’s on the Bowery and CBGB on the canopy. My mother was the artist that painted on the two canopy as I held the ladder. My father just kept all the money and got all the credit. My mother and I were never asked to be in the CBGB film and I believe that they all just took our idea and ruined it. I still have the much larger story of how it all began. PS I am very sorry that a beautiful young woman from the camera department was killed. If any film people out there are interested in making a true and much different CBGB story from my point of view as a teenager growing up on the Bowery and are pissed off about how the CBGB biopic was done. Please contact me on Facebook. I’m a multi award winning director and I’d do a much better job than Randell Miller

  2. Velouria   February 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    The movie is Midnight Rider not Midnight Train.

  3. Nick   February 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Where was the redundancy? Who was watching backs? There should have been people dedicated to watching the tracks with or without a permit.

  4. wynema gonzagowski   February 26, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    This was totally a safety issue… As the member of a film crew those asked to film ON the tracks should have refused and someone should have contacted the Union 🙁 This is such a sad and avoidable issue!!! I have been on sets where dangerous things are done and precautions set up if something happens and sets where no precautions were taken… While I am not an ‘in demand’ member of crews, now that I know proper set procedures I would walk off a set that did not properly handle safety concerns! From the sounds of the article and other information that is available it seems that this crew may have been filming somewhat gorilla… They seem to have had permission to be on the land but none to be on the tracks 🙁 This was totally avoidable and is such a tragedy!

  5. splashlaugh   February 26, 2014 at 12:26 am

    @bobbyLeo did you not read the article, she was filming on the railroad trestle HIGH above the altamaha river. Clearly if she could have easily jumped to save her life she would have.

  6. Steve kicas   February 25, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    You obviously have never been on a trestle it’s for train traffic only the only thing you can do is jump off

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