The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the Feb. 20th, 2014 train accident on the set of Greg Allman biopic Midnight Rider was the result of the production not having permission to shoot on the CSX trestle over the Altamaha River near Jesup, Ga. CSX had repeatedly denied permission to shoot on the trestle. Twenty-seven-year-old camera operator Sarah Jones was killed and eight others were injured in the accident when a train crossed the trestle to the location where they were shooting.
Randall Miller was the director of Midnight Rider.
“There’s this prevalent misconception that Miller not only knew the production didn’t have permission to be on the tracks that day, but that he decided to film there anyway. One of the first things we uncovered was that couldn’t be further from the truth… he had no idea.” said documentary director David Rollins. “Once we found that out, it was apparent that the entire investigation had to be looked into.”
Rollins hopes his film Trial of Midnight Rider: Railroaded in the Deep South will help those involved by setting the record straight.
“…seeing my judge, who is supposed to be an example of a fair and just system, chuckle on camera while admitting he handed me an illegal sentence…”
Given the revelations in the documentary, the official narrative surrounding the tragic accident is severely in question. Rollins seeks to uncover how the accident occurred. Prosecutors maintain Miller was knowingly on the tracks without permission and ultimately at fault. He was then charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing.
“The part that really bothered me was seeing my judge, who is supposed to be an example of a fair and just system, chuckle on camera while admitting he handed me an illegal sentence,” said Miller. “It’s so surreal that I almost don’t know what to do with the information. What does it even mean?”
Available on streaming now. Click here for more about the film.