Allman Brothers Band singer Gregg Allman is facing a third lawsuit after a train accident on the set of his biopic “Midnight Rider” killed camera assistant Sarah Jones and injured seven others on Feb. 20.
Antonyia Vera, a makeup artist on the “Midnight Rider” set, filed a suit in Chatham County Georgia seeking compensatory and punitive monetary damages for “serious physical injuries, medical and other necessary expenses, post-traumatic stress, mental anguish, lost income, and mental and physical pain and suffering,” Variety reports.
Vera joins fellow crewmember Joyce Gilliard and Jones’ parents in seeking damages from the film’s producers. All three suits name Allman, location manager Charles Baxter, writer and producer Jody Savin, Open Road Films, Unclaimed Freight Productions, Meddin Studios and CSX Transportation, the rail company running the trains that caused the injuries. Vera’s case also lists her spouse, Richard Brewer, as a plaintiff.
On the first day of shooting for “Midnight Rider,” Jones was killed and several others were injured trying to escape an oncoming freight train while filming on a small railroad bridge in rural Georgia, about 70 miles outside of Savannah. The crew were reportedly told that two trains would pass by the shoot, but a third unexpectedly appeared, forcing the crew to evacuate the bridge. The crew was allegedly given little to no safety training beforehand, leading to Jones’ death and numerous injuries.
Vera’s suit alleges that the railroad bridge was an “unreasonably dangerous site for the filming location,” and that the defendants repeatedly failed to provide even the most basic safety checks such as setting up a look-out to see if a train was approaching the set. The “Midnight Rider” producers allegedly didn't receive permission to film on the bridge and misled their crew to believe that the shoot was more above-board than it was in reality.
Allman distanced himself from “Midnight Rider” following the accident. In April, he penned a letter asking the biopic's producers to cancel production on “Midnight Rider” entirely.
“While there may have been a possibility that the production might have resumed shortly after that, the reality of Sarah Jones’ tragic death, the loss suffered by the Jones family and injuries to the others involved has led me to realize that for you to continue production would be wrong,” Allman wrote.
Allman has also denied any responsibility for the accident, stating that he simply provided source material for the production. In May, Allman’s lawyer called his inclusion in previous lawsuits “unfortunate, unwarranted and without merit.”
Production of “Midnight Rider” has been suspended and actor William Hurt, set to play Allman in modern-day scenes, has dropped out of the production.