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Train caught film crew by surprise

Victim identified

POSTED: February 21, 2014 2:46 p.m.
Photo by Mike Riddle/

Security kept onlookers away from the scene where a CSX train ran into a film crew on the Doctortown trestle Thursday afternoon.

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A woman was killed Thursday when she was struck by a train in Wayne County during the filming of a movie about Gregg Allman.

The victim was Sarah Elizabeth Jones, 27, of Atlanta, according to Wayne County Sheriff John Carter.

According to Wayne County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Joe Gardner, about 4:30 p.m. emergency personnel responded to a report that a train had struck a person at the Doctertown Road railroad trestle on property behind Rayonier Timber Mill. He said they discovered that one female film crew member had been killed and seven other people injured.

Of those seven, he said two were seriously injured and taken to hospitals. One woman was flown to Memorial Medical University Center in Savannah. 

Gardner said the production crew with Meddin Studios out of Savannah had gotten permission from CSX Railroad and Rayonier to be in the area to work on a film about the former Allman Brothers band member who now lives in Richmond Hill. Called "Midnight Rider," the movie is being produced for Open Roads Film.

The detective said he could not confirm if the crew had permission to be on the trestle.

A Variety story by senior editor Ted Johnson, said the crew had placed a bed across tracks on the trestle to film a dream sequence. The story also said as the train approached it sounded a whistle, but the crew had less than a minute to get off the track.

Gardner could not confirm these details. He did confirm that a prop of some kind had been on the tracks and that a mattress was found in the area. The Variety story said the train struck the bed, and debris struck the female victim who had to be air-lifted to the hospital.

The story also said movie's director, Randall Miller, fell on the track as he ran, but was pulled to safety.

Gardner said the freight train was coming from Memphis and headed to Savannah.

He said that he did not know the condition of all who had been injured.

Gardner said that as a precaution the incident is being investigated as a homicide.

According to Variety, actors William Hurt and Tyson Ritter are playing Allman at different times in his life. Allman reportedly is an executive producer, but it's not known if he was at the location when the accident occurred.

 

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