CSX: Film crew denied track access before crash

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm •  Published: September 3, 2014
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — CSX Transportation twice denied producers of a biographical movie about singer Gregg Allman permission to shoot on its railroad tracks before a freight train slammed into the film's crew in south Georgia, killing one worker and injuring six, the company said in court documents.

Legal filings in Chatham County State Court mark the first time Florida-based railroad operator CSX has made any publicly available statement about the Feb. 20 crash involving one of its trains and the crew of the movie "Midnight Rider." Lawsuits have been filed against CSX and the film's producers by the parents of Sarah Jones, a camera assistant killed in the collision, and two injured crew members. Director Randall Miller and two other top executives on the production have also been indicted on criminal charges.

In its response Tuesday to the Jones family's lawsuit, attorneys for CSX denied the company was negligent or otherwise responsible for the crash that killed her. The film workers, including actor William Hurt in the role of the Allman Brothers Band singer, was shooting on a railroad bridge spanning the Altamaha River in rural Wayne County when a train traveling 55 mph plowed through them and a hospital bed placed on the tracks as a prop.

The railroad company also sued the film's producers in the same court for trespassing. CSX Transportation said that days before the crash the filmmakers twice asked for permission to shoot on its train tracks and the company "unequivocally denied each request in writing, citing a company policy which prohibits filming on CSXT's property due to safety and security reasons."

The lawsuit said filmmakers decided to trespass onto the railroad's property "despite knowing that CSXT had twice, in writing, denied them permission."

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