Jury selected in ‘Midnight Rider’ civil suit against CSX

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The parents of a film crew member killed on the first day of filming the late Greg Allman’s biopic, “Midnight Rider,” are in Savannah for a civil trial against CSX Railroad.

Richard and Elizabeth Jones filed the wrongful death and negligence suit in May 2014 against several parties, including CSX. Their daughter, 27-year-old Sarah Jones died February 20, 2014, while filming a scene on live train tracks near Jesup, Ga.

All suits have either been settled out or dropped (except for Meddin Studios).

However, CSX is, so far, standing firm. At issue is whether CSX “breached its duty to exercise ordinary care and take reasonable safety precautions,” according to the suit filed by the Jones family.

At the heart of the legal action is he fact that two other trains passed the cast and crew on February 20, 2014, as detailed in reports from both OSHA and Federal Railroad Administration, but “No warning was given to the subsequent train that ultimately caused Sarah’s death. …  Moreover, despite its actual knowledge that the “Midnight Rider” cast and crew were on and around the railroad tracks and trestle bridge on Feb. 20, CSX never sent a representative to the location to secure the removal of individuals and equipment from the railroad tracks.”

The trial started with jury selection, which last through 6 p.m. Monday.

There were more than 50 people in the pool of potential jurors. When the panel of 12 was selected with two alternates, the jury in the case is made up of 11 women and 3 men.

The film’s director, Randall Miller, served a little more than a year in jail for involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass for the accident that killed Jones and injured 8 others. The civil case against CSX continues at 9:00 a.m. in the Chatham County Courthouse with opening statements from both sides.

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