ABC News aired a video last night showing the final moments leading up to camera assistant Sarah Jones’ death as she was working on the set of Midnight Rider: The Gregg Allman Story. The drama film, which has been indefinitely suspended from production, is based on the autobiographical novel My Cross to Bear by country singer Gregg Allman. The video was released just two short days after Jones’ family made the decision to drop the lawsuits against the film’s executive producer Michael Lehman, Open Roads Films, and Allman himself.
Jones was fatally struck by a train on the set of the film in Wayne County, Georgia earlier this year in February. The recently released footage, captured from a camera fixed inside the speeding train, shows Jones, other crew members, and the film’s stars William Hurt and Wyatt Russell fleeing the tracks a minute prior to impact. The train’s whistle was blown approximately 30 seconds before the collision occurred, but the warning wasn’t enough, as the train still needed at least another mile before it could to come to a complete stop.
The video also revealed that the train was not what directly killed Jones, so much as the bed that was placed on the tracks in front of it. During the particular scene being filmed at the time of her death, the hospital bed that had been placed on the tracks was first struck by the train, and then “the train hit the bed and the bed [flew] up and apparently a portion of [it] strikes Sarah and pushes her into the train,” explained the Jones’ attorney, Jeff Harris.
The scene was intended to be a dream sequence depicting Gregg Allman — played by William Hurt — lying in his hospital bed and seeing his brother Duane across a bridge. After Jones’ death, however, Hurt decided to drop out of the film. In an interview with 20/20, Jones’ parents explained that they received the news of their daughter’s passing through one of her friends. Her father, Richard Jones, told the interviewer, “The people who made poor choices that day need to be held fully accountable. It’s clear that certainly the producers and the director, they messed up real bad.”
In separate footage released by ABC showing the film’s director, Randall Miller’s, deposition from the suit Gregg Allman filed against him, he can be heard repeating “that’s not my job” in response to questions about why he wasn’t aware that a train could potentially harm members of his film crew. The family’s lawyer, however, asserts that the makers of the movie were aware that they didn’t have permission to film in that location, but proceeded to do so anyway.