New Video Shows Moments Before Sarah Jones Was Killed on ‘Midnight Rider’ Set

Crewmembers can be seen running for their lives in newly released footage

ABC News and “20/20” released new video on Friday from the CSX locomotive train that ran through the set of the film “Midnight Rider,” killing camera assistant Sarah Jones.

The footage from the final moments before Jones’ death shows crewmembers trying to run off the tracks as the train speeds towards them. Stars of the Gregg Allman biopic, William Hurt and Wyatt Russell, can also be seen narrowly escaping being struck.

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“20/20” slowed down the video to point out a hospital bed that wasn’t moved off the train tracks in time before the locomotive struck it. The bed turned into, “a deadly weapon,” says ABC News’ Chris Connelly, as the mattress then struck Sarah and pushed her into the train.

“The shrapnel, it apparently hit her and caused her to knock her into the train,” Sarah’s father Richard Jones said.

“20/20” also broke down the time it took for the train to reach the set after the first warning whistle blew, saying the locomotive would need a full mile to stop and that the train’s whistle was blown only 26 seconds before impact. Hairstylist Joyce Gilliard explained she and her colleagues had 60 seconds to run off of the train trestle before it was too late.

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Gilliard, who herself was struck by the train and suffered a broken arm, recalled what it was like after the tragedy occurred, saying: “At first it was like a quiet, like people were in shock at what happened,” Gilliard said. “I remember hearing somebody say ‘Oh my gosh, she’s dead.'”

As TheWrap previously reported, The Joneses are now suing the film’s director, Randall Miller, as well as others involved with the production.

“The people who made poor choices that day need to be held fully accountable,” Richard Jones said. “It’s clear that certainly the producers and the director, they messed up real bad.”

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“You don’t shoot on a railroad track unless you have permission to be there,” the attorney for the Jones family, Jeff Harris, said. “I think they said, we don’t have actual permission but ultimately we’re just going to try to steal this shot.”

ABC News also includes instances from Miller’s past that suggest this isn’t the first time he didn’t take crew safety into account while shooting one of his movies.

Miller and producer Jody Savin‘s lawyer released a statement to ABC News, saying: “They believed they had permission to be on the tracks from Rayonier [the owner of the land around the tracks] and CSX. They had no reason to believe that anyone would be placed in danger. They will live with the sorrow of Sarah’s death for the rest of their lives.”

Watch the video of “20/20’s” report above and below.


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