2ND UPDATE, 12:30 PM: The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said today that the victim’s name is Sarah Elizabeth Jones from Atlanta. The investigation is ongoing, with railroad and film crew personnel cooperating. Here’s the official statement just released about the incident:
Sheriff John Carter reports that on 02/20/2014 at approximately 4:30pm Deputies of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office along with other emergency personnel responded to a call of a train hitting persons on the Doctortown train trestle. Deputies arrived to find that there were several people from Open Road films and the Meddin Studios from Savannah, Georgia filming a movie called Midnight Rider in the area and had gotten onto the train tracks. A north bound train struck some of these persons. There was one fatality and seven others injured. One of the injured was flown to a Savannah hospital while others were taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital for treatment. The fatality was a 27 year old white female from Atlanta, Georgia. Her name is Sarah Elizabeth Jones. This investigation is ongoing and CSX Railroad personnel, Rayonier Mill personnel, and the film crew personnel are all cooperating in the investigation. Due to the ongoing investigation no further information can be released at this time.
UPDATE, 9:10 AM: Open Road Films says it is not pulling out of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider: The Gregg Allman Story, despite information Deadline was told to the contrary by those involved with the film. According to spokesman Liz Biber, the company says it still plans to release the picture in the U.S. but does not have a release date set. We were told that the distributor was close to announcing its plans to pull out before yesterday’s tragic accident during production in Wayne County, GA, in which one female crew member was killed and seven others were injured when they were hit by a train while filming. So time will tell.
Detective Joe Gardner of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department told Deadline that the crew was on the tracks filming a scene in Jesup, GA yesterday at about 4 PM local time and couldn’t get out of the way in time when a CSX train travelling from Memphis to Savannah arrived unexpectedly. The 27-year-old woman, who Variety reported was the second camera assistant, was killed after trying to remove a mattress from the tracks, and it did have permission to shoot in the location, Gardner said during a press conference yesterday. The 20-person crew was from Savannah, GA-based Meddin Studios. “All of us on the production team are devastated by the tragic accident that happened today,” the production said in a release sent late last night. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our crew member.”
Allman wrote the 2013 autobiography My Cross To Bear on which the film is based. Tyson Ritter, William Hurt, Wyatt Russell, Zoey Deutch, Chad Lindberg and Charles S. Dutton star in the pic, which Randall Miller is directing. Miller co-wrote the script with Jody Savin, who is also producing. Allman and his manager Michael Lehman are executive producing.