The trial between Sarah Jones’ family and railroad company CSX has come to an end. The jury has found CSX liable in the death of the 27-year-old camera assistant. Jones’ family has won $11.2 million, including $2M for pain and suffering and over $9M for economic losses. Jones was killed and six others were injured after a 2014 accident on the set of “Midnight Rider” outside Doctortown, Georgia.
The incident occurred on February 20, 2014. Producers on the movie assured cast and crew that filming a scene on a railroad trestle above the Altamaha River was safe, but a train came speeding down the tracks at 58 mph during production, giving the crew less than one minute to evacuate the location. The train ran into a metal bed being used by the crew and Jones was struck by shrapnel that propelled her toward the moving train.
Jones’ family sued CSX, claiming they did not follow their own company policy and failed to report that there were people aligning the tracks. Another question at the center of the trial was why the train’s breaks weren’t applied until five seconds after the impact on the bridge.
During Jones’ family’s closing arguments (via Deadline), the attorney told the journey that CSX was not taking any responsibility for Sarah’s death and was merely trying to blame everything on director Randall Miller. The filmmaker settled with the family in November 2014 and went to jail for a year for criminal trespassing and involuntary manslaughter.
Jones’ family started the Safety for Sarah movement in the wake of their daughter’s death. The campaign advocates for increased safety in film production.