SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- A jury has found a railroad company responsible in the 2014 death of a movie worker on a Georgia railroad bridge, awarding the young woman's family $11.2 million in damages.
The verdict against CSX Transportation came Monday in a civil lawsuit the parents of Sarah Jones filed in the Feb. 20, 2014, crash. Jones was killed when a freight train slammed into film workers shooting a movie about singer Gregg Allman.
Attorneys for Jones' family argued CSX should have taken precautions to avoid the crash. They said two CSX trains that passed the movie crew before the collision should have reported the group.
CSX attorneys blamed filmmakers who were denied permission by CSX to shoot on its tracks. Film director Randall Miller served a year in jail for Jones' death.
According to NBC affiliate, WSAV in Savannah, the jury decided on awarding the family nearly $2 million for pain and suffering and more than $9 million for the value of her life, which includes everything she would have earned in her lifetime working as a camera assistant. Of the $11.2 million, 35 percent will be paid by CSX, 28 percent by Miller and 18 percent by Rayonier, the CSX property owner
Sarah Jones’ parents, Richard and Elizabeth, said in a statement, “We felt that this trial was necessary in order to learn what happened that tragic day of February 20, 2014. It is only with the discovery of what could have been done differently that we might avoid another similar tragic loss of life.”
They went on to say, “Frankly, I believe that the evidence in this trial indicated that CSX has systemic issues that need corrected.”
The verdict comes just days after a fatal accident on the set of another major Georgia production. Last week, a veteran stuntman John Bernecker, 33, was shooting a scene on the set of AMC show "The Walking Dead" when he fell more than 20 feet from a ledge to the concrete below. He was placed on a ventilator at Atlanta Medical Center, but was later pronounced brain-dead. He was died on from his injuries at 6:30 p.m. July 12, and production of the show has been halted until a still-undetermined date.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story as reported by the Associated Press said Jones' family was awarded $3.9 million. That information was inaccurate and this story has been updated with the correct information.
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