Jury sides with family of CofC grad Sarah Jones in wrongful death lawsuit

Jury for Jones

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More than three years after camera assistant and College of Charleston grad Sarah Jones was killed on the set of Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider, the Jones family will receive compensation from railroad owner CSX Transportation.  On Monday, July 17, a jury ruled in favor of the Jones family, deciding upon the dollar amount of $3.9 million. According to the AP report, "The jury Monday found $11.2 million to be the total value of Jones' life as well as her pain and suffering. Jurors decided CSX — the only defendant on trial — bore 35 percent of the responsibility for Jones' death, making the railroad's share $3.9 million."

Jones was killed Feb. 20, 2014 on a Georgia railroad bridge where the Midnight Rider crew was filming when a train came down the track at 55 mph — six other crew members were injured by the train or flying debris. Randall Miller, the film's director, served a year in jail after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing charges.  During the trial, the transportation company claimed that the fault lay entirely with the filmmakers. Jones' attorney, Jeffrey Harris, argued that CSX should have taken precautions to avoid the crash. According to the AP report, the lawsuit stated that "despite the fact that multiple CSX trains passed the Midnight Rider cast and crew on February 20, with those individuals in view of the trains' operators, no warning was given to the subsequent train that ultimately caused Sarah's death."

Rob Doolittle, a spokesman for CSX, says that the company "respectfully disagrees with the conclusions reached by the jury" and that they plan to appeal the jury's decision.

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