Will evidence in the ongoing Midnight Rider civil case be sealed after next week? An emergency hearing has been set for Friday morning in Georgia’s Chatham County court to address rail company CSX’s recent move to keep further photo and video evidence from going public. That request follows October’s major media reveal of footage from the February 20 train collision that killed 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones and injured several other crew members working on the Gregg Allman biopic.
The motion will be heard by Judge Gregory V. Sapp on Friday, December 12 at 10:00 AM.
A persistent point of contention between the two has involved the action taken by CSX representatives before, during, and after the accident, which occurred when a CSX train hit a hospital bed and equipment the film’s crew had placed across active tracks without permission. CSX provided camera footage from three of four trains that passed the Doctortown trestle site the afternoon of the tragedy; video from a fourth train was never downloaded and preserved, the company explained this week.
Last month CSX asked the court to seal future photographic and video evidence from getting out publicly pre-trial, accusing the Jones’ lawyers of leaking train footage to ABC News. Train footage was broadcast on an October 31 episode of ABC’s 20/20.
The wrongful death case was initially filed by the parents of Sarah Jones against more than a dozen defendants including Midnight Rider’s director Randall Miller, producer Jody Savin, executive producer/unit production manager Jay Sedrish, 1st assistant director Hillary Schwartz, and land owner Rayonier. However, after the family reached settlements with many of those parties, the case has evolved into a legal face-off between the Jones camp and CSX.
Miller, Savin, Sedrish, and Schwartz are facing separate criminal charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. A trial has been set for March 9.