SC woman dies in train incident while filming Greg Allman movie - WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC

SC woman dies in train incident while filming Greg Allman movie

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Sarah Jones with an image from the scene on Thursday. (Source: Facebook and WSAV) Sarah Jones with an image from the scene on Thursday. (Source: Facebook and WSAV)
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JESUP, GA -

A woman originally from Columbia died and 7 people were hurt in an incident with a train while filming for a movie on Thursday afternoon.

Sarah Jones, age 27, of Atlanta, was working with Meddin Studios of Charleston at a location Wayne County, Ga.

The incident happened before 4:30 pm at the Doctortown train trestle.

During a press briefing Thursday night, Wayne County Detective Joe Gardner confirmed that the crew had placed a mattress on the tracks when the train struck them.

A 20-person crew was filming in Jesup, Ga. for the biopic "Midnight Rider," which is based on the life of Greg Allman.

 Jones was from the Columbia area and went to Brookland-Cayce High School, according to her Facebook page. She graduated from the College of Charleston in 2009.

The deadly collision took place at a railroad trestle that crosses the Altamaha River in the rural county about 60 miles southwest of Savannah. The tracks, owned by CSX Railroad, cross private land owned by forest-products company Rayonier, which has a nearby paper mill.

 Gardner, the lead detective on the case, said the crew had Rayonier's permission to film on its property next to the train tracks.

"CSX has told me they were aware they were out there, but they did not have permission to be on the train tracks," Gardner told reporters.

Trespassing onto railroad tracks is illegal under Georgia law and punishable as a misdemeanor.

Production of "Midnight Rider," starring actor William Hurt as the Allman Brothers singer in his later years and All-American rejects vocalist Tyson Ritter as a young Allman, began this month in coastal Georgia. The film is based on Allman's 2012 memoir, "My Cross to Bear," with production based at Meddin Studios in Savannah.

The film studio Friday referred calls to a Los Angeles publicist, Nadine Jolson, who did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment but emailed a brief statement.

"All of us on the production team are devastated by the tragic accident that happened today," the studio's statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our crew member."

CSX issued a statement saying the railroad company was "deeply saddened" by the crash and cooperating with investigators. It provided no further details other than to say the train involved was traveling to Savannah from Memphis, Tenn.

A CSX spokeswoman, Kristin Seay, declined to comment further and would not confirm that film crew had no permission from the railroad to be working on the train tracks.

Authorities provided few details about the collision. Gardner said it wasn't clear if crew members were actually on the trestle bridging the river or just on the tracks at the river's edge. He said the train smashed some of the crew's equipment, and it's possible some of the injuries were caused by flying debris. Among the items found on the tracks was what appeared to be a mattress for a bed, Gardner said.

It also wasn't clear if the film crew was waiting to film a train or was caught unaware by one approaching, Gardner said.

"That's a very active train track," he said. "There's probably anywhere from up to 10 trains a day that go through on those tracks."

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