Video shows terrifying seconds before Georgia film crew’s fatal run-in with freight train
On Tuesday, video surfaced that shows the frantic seconds leading up to a train accident that killed one member of a Georgia film crew last year. The incident took place during the filming of Midnight Rider, a now-defunct biopic of legendary Southern rock musician Gregg Allman.
The entertainment industry newspaper Variety posted the video, which showed the film crew scrambling to get off the tracks as a freight train bore down on them.
The Hollywood Reporter said that director Randall Miller pled guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass on Monday morning as part of a deal that would include charges being dropped against his wife, Jody Savin, the project’s producer.
Assistant Director Hillary Schwartz received a sentence of 10 years’ probation in a separate trial.
Wayne County District Attorney Jackie Johnson said that the tragedy — which took place on Feb. 20, 2014 — was a preventable one.
“I think it is easy to call this an accident; this was a very preventable tragedy,” she told reporters. “Had everything been done, had everyone been doing their job that day, and had there been communication, I think that this would not have happened in any industry, whether it is the railroad industry or even in my office. Somebody has got to be in charge, and somebody has got to make sure that everybody else is doing their job as they should.”
Miller directed his crew to set up and film on what he thought was an inactive track, straddling the rails of a trestle with a metal hospital bed. Minutes into the shoot, a train came over the rise.
The crew scrambled to clear themselves and their equipment off the track, but the train struck the bed, turning it into shards of flying metal. Eight people were injured, but 27-year-old assistant camera operator Sarah Jones was clipped by the train’s fuel tank and thrown under the wheels. She died instantly.
According to the Reporter, “The director received the harshest sentence — 10 years, of which two would be spent in jail in Wayne County. His probation bars him from directing a film, serving as a first A.D. or supervising a film crew. He’ll pay a $20,000 fine and do 360 hours of community service.”
Watch the video, embedded below:
Watch the clip from “Midnight Rider”: