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Old March 6th, 2014, 10:49 PM   #16
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

The story I read related that appearently Sarah Jones, the young lady who lost her life, had said something to her family that she thought it was strange that some of the people that were working on the film who were supposed to be in high positions, seemed to have less experience than she did in film production. she had been involved in some series and other films for about 5+ years. Also according to the article that I read this production was a pretty low budget operation.

It just seems like there were a bunch of people in various management positions that either didn't know what they were doing or they felt that since they were in a rural area they didn't feel the rules of common sense at least, needed to be followed. Add to that that every minute of production time was based on limited dollars, that is a very bad very volatile combination.

I'm sorry but I have no sympathy for the people that were running this operation, it just seems like it was a criminal act or at least close enough they should be charged.

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Old March 7th, 2014, 07:47 AM   #17
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

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Originally Posted by Chip Gallo View Post
It is difficult to believe that they had permission to shoot on the private property adjacent to the track. There would be a significant safety burden imposed by CSX for even that level of access ............
There's a lot of devil in the detail, but it's CONCEIVABLE that the private property next to the track may not even have been owned by CSX? In which case, CSX would have no jurisdiction?

Hence, it's quite possible to see a situation where the director puts in a request for filming to CSX and the owner of the adjacent land. CSX refuse, but they get permission to be on the adjacent land.

From there, I can see a situation developing where those in charge decide to chance things, especially if there was not much fencing between the track and where they had permission to be? The attitude of "I've got away with things in the past, so .....?"

There's some further detail in a report from a local TV station here: New details surface on fatal train incident with film crew - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports and in particular:
Quote:
A new incident report out of Wayne County shows the producers were denied permission to be on the tracks.

"I think that puts you on notice not to go on the tracks. I can't even imagine the decision to go on the tracks without assurance of safety and there wouldn't be train traffic during the time you would be there," Schiavone said.

While investors may want the movie to continue, we've been told crew may not be willing to continue. Some questioned the producers at a meeting over the weekend and were not given the answers about the permits when asked directly.

This is an account from one Facebook post:
JAY SEDRISH, Producer.... In yesterday's crew gathering "Sarah would want us to finish this film".... Unidentified crew member stands and says "no, Sarah would want to be with us in this room now". He went on to ask "show us the permit"..... (Silence)......"please, just show us the permit and explain how this happened"..... (Silence)...."somebody answer me....how did this happen?"....
JAY SEDRISH ... "We can't answer that right now". As he glances toward their Attorney.....


Schiavone says the producers may have their hands full with a multitude of legal consequenses from what happened, from worker's comp, to liability...and possibly more.
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Old March 7th, 2014, 09:19 AM   #18
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

They were on a bridge with very little room on either side of the tracks. The bridge itself might not have been owned by CSX but the tracks were and I might be wrong here but if the bridge was not owned by CSX they would have some type of agreement with the municipality that owned the bridge. In any case there was no permission by anyone of the authority to anyone from the production company to use either the tracks or the bridge, hence someone died. There is plenty of blame to go around and honestly, this production company should be and I'll bet will be smacked with numerous law suits and frankly because of their stupidity, should be put out of business but not before they are criminally charged.

If you can't tell, I'm quite upset by this incident. I didn't know Sarah Jones or any of the others who were injured. I had no idea this movie was even being made but when stupid is as stupid does and someone either get badly hurt (as 7 others did) or worse, someone dies for no reason other than someone elses stupidity, I get pissed off and honestly, I hope the producer and director spend some time in jail. I doubt they will but one can hope.

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Old March 7th, 2014, 11:31 AM   #19
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
There's a lot of devil in the detail, but it's CONCEIVABLE that the private property next to the track may not even have been owned by CSX? In which case, CSX would have no jurisdiction?

Hence, it's quite possible to see a situation where the director puts in a request for filming to CSX and the owner of the adjacent land. CSX refuse, but they get permission to be on the adjacent land.
David, I commute on CSX owned tracks and have done so since 1993. We have had numerous incidents with people and vehicles on the tracks and even with the lighter passenger trains, it doesn't end well. When I supported the FRA at-grade database project in the late 1970's, there were over 50,000 reported accidents a year. People often mis-estimate the distance and speed of trains or try to race the train through a crossing.

That said, and I am not a transportation attorney, CSX owns or has right-of-way control of ground for a certain distance around the tracks. They need this for maintenance, repair, upgrades, etc. to the tracks and switches. There may be fences or not, but signage is used to warn pedestrian traffic away. Undoubtedly a defense attorney may attempt to construct a defense for this horrible tragedy, but the best lesson here is to not put your talent or crew in harm's way for any reason.

[CNN has a tribute page for Sarah Jones here: http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/28/showbi...ted/index.html ]
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Last edited by Chip Gallo; March 7th, 2014 at 11:48 AM. Reason: add CNN URL
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Old March 7th, 2014, 01:03 PM   #20
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

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Originally Posted by Chip Gallo View Post
That said, and I am not a transportation attorney, CSX owns or has right-of-way control of ground for a certain distance around the tracks. They need this for maintenance, repair, upgrades, etc. to the tracks and switches. There may be fences or not, but signage is used to warn pedestrian traffic away. Undoubtedly a defense attorney may attempt to construct a defense for this horrible tragedy, but the best lesson here is to not put your talent or crew in harm's way for any reason.
Don't get me wrong - I don't think any defence attorney is likely to be able to construct much of a defence, not a workable one, anyway, and in no way am I trying to excuse what happened. Wherever they did have permission for, they'd been refused access to the tracks themselves, (let alone on the bridge!) it was stupid to take a crew on to them - end of story.

Maybe I'd have been clearer wording to suggest that they were on private land next to the land owned by CSX, rather than next to the track itself? I don't know how far either side of the actual track it's typical for a company to own rights to in the US - I was assuming just a matter of yards most of the time?
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Old March 7th, 2014, 02:35 PM   #21
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

They were on private property owned by Rayonier Paper. In the past there has been a guard posted near where the track crosses Doctortown Road, before the trestle. A Google Maps view of the road, trestle, tracks and river:

https://www.google.com/maps/@31.6537.../data=!3m1!1e3

Scroll down through these Flickr photo notes for a brief history of the Doctor Town area including Civil War:

Doctortown, GA | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Nothing specific about rights-of-way, easements, etc.

The Train Orders site has a good collection of comments and opinions.

http://www.trainorders.com/discussio....php?2,3330673
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Last edited by Chip Gallo; March 7th, 2014 at 02:39 PM. Reason: add Train Orders URL
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Old March 7th, 2014, 06:09 PM   #22
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

It's plain stupid on all levels.

I'm trying to put myself in the mind of one of these idiots to see how in their brains they came to decision to go out there...

Level 1: risky
"we'll film near the track, but not on it, quick, easy, no trains to worry about"

Level 2: dumb
"ya know what, let's film on the track, we can see over a mile in each direction, and we can just hop off in a matter of seconds if we see it coming"

Level 3: Idiotic
"ya know what, we're pretty sure no train is coming and heck it looks like we can see for at least a few miles in both directions, let's go out onto the bridge a bit, just a few feet out so we can cheat the shot to look like it's over open bridge, and we can still get off the track in maybe a minute if we see a train coming."

level 4: facepalm
"Ya know what, i checked google and it says no more trains today, let's get out into the middle of the track and get this sweet shot, let's bring the steel frame for the mattress too, that'll really sell it."
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Old March 15th, 2014, 01:59 PM   #23
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

After reading the article I was reminded of when I worked in news & operated microwave live trucks. I am thankful that when I was trained on the live trucks at the first two stations I worked at my boss & the engineers were very firm about safety when it came to operating the trucks.

I had my boss & chief engineers say in very plain words "I don't care if it is the general manager of the station yelling at you to put the mast up to get the shot, if you think it is unsafe don't do it and I will back you up."

That really taught me that safety is #1. Your safety & the safety of your co-workers & the safety of other around you is more important than the shot, than the production, than anything else. And the #1 person who is in charge of keeping you safe is you.

Quote:
a voice shouted to the crew that in the event a train appeared, everyone would have 60 seconds to clear the tracks. “Everybody on the crew was tripping over that,” says Gilliard. “A minute? Are you serious?”
The #1 person in charge of keeping you safe is you. Even if you have safety crew around you, if you feel unsafe you need to do what you need to do.

I feel sad that the crew was nervous, but no one stood up & said "nope."

We work in video, in TV, in films... we're not saving lives, we're not on the bomb squad trying to defuse a nuclear bomb under the super bowl, none of our productions are worth the loss of a life.

If someone says "you have 60seconds to live" on the set of a production, that is your sign to give 60 seconds of notice that you're quitting & walking back to your car.
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Old March 15th, 2014, 02:43 PM   #24
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

Her seniors better be doing time in jail for this ... ridiculous reason to die.
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Old March 18th, 2014, 04:21 AM   #25
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

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Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
In the UK, I'm pretty sure it would likely lead to a charge of "Involuntary Manslaughter", which Wikipedia defines as "Involuntary manslaughter arises where the accused did not intend to cause death or serious injury, but caused the death of another through recklessness or criminal negligence.".

If I was on a jury, and if the circumstances were as described, I'd have no problem with finding beyond reasonable doubt that "recklessness or criminal negligence" were present. I find it difficult to think of anything more reckless than placing a metal bed and a 20 strong film crew on a live railway track, without the knowledge or consent of the railway company, and doing such on the track well across a narrow bridge over water. The stupidity beggars belief.

Also from the posted link, it states:

so I'm assuming "negligent homicide" is the US equivalent to "Involuntary Manslaughter"?

And this is before we even consider civil law........
In the UK the charge would be at least Gross Negligence Manslaughter https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/h_to_k/...aughter/#gross any employer has a duty of care to their employees which includes not putting them in risky situations.
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 11:23 AM   #26
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in Sarah Jones Death

Midnight Rider Sarah Jones Manslaughter | Variety
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 01:29 PM   #27
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

Here's hoping they get the 10 year maximum.
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Old July 3rd, 2014, 06:49 PM   #28
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=4BausdKnZc0
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Old July 5th, 2014, 03:31 AM   #29
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

recent events around this:
Charges could prompt film industry to take crew safety more seriously*-*Los Angeles Times
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Old July 5th, 2014, 04:17 AM   #30
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Re: Camera Assistant death on the set of Midnight Rider.

The long hours are another safety consideration. I gather the largest cause of death in the industry is people driving home and falling asleep at the wheel of their car.
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