Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby Gadfly » Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:18 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Wholly agree Mr. Gadfly, but again, as I earlier noted, just too darned many deep pockets around.

Unfortunately, it would appear the one party on whom the liability rests - the production company - is the one whose pockets "ain't so deep". It is foregone that whatever they have had in the way of insurance will quickly be "tapped out".


This is also why Norfolk Southern became quite aggressive in arresting/prosecuting people for trespass and also refusing access to their property to railfans in the 90s. Seems a 13 y/o boy went out onto a long trestle. He ignored the "Danger! Do not Trespass" signs and went out there anyway. Not having a way to escape, he was struck and killed. The parents imediately sued and the national media got hold of it. One Friday night, a segment came on about this incident & and the talking heads crucified Norfolk Southern as villains extraordinaire! These b*****ds made it sound as tho NS went to extra effort to run down this boy and kill him. :( They made sure to "assassinate" NS thru the press and and insure the parents would become "rich" over this most tragic incident!

Monday morning, there was a meeting where not only the management was clearly ENRAGED, but most line employees took very vocal exception to this slam. Management and employees were of one mind on this, for these slimy little snots had impugned the entire rail industry with this bit of yellow journalism! Effective immediately, all NS employees WILL report, prevent, even detain ANY trespassers to include unauthorized riders on NS trains, stop and verify every visitor to NS property, or report their presence to management--even report or confront people walking on the right of way. Prior to this NS had been pretty lenient/tolerant to railfans who ventured onto the property, but now they were MAD---absolutely LIVID! THIS is the THANKS they got for being lenient to railfans, and the public now thought of the railroad as "villains". This was Norfolk Southern's reaction; a clampdown!~

To be sure, it is tragic when lives are lost, but there is still a matter of R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y. Suing the railroad because of the stupidity of others simply because it *may* be a profitable company is just WRONG, and speaks volumes of the moral decay of our society where our OWN faults and mistakes are NEVER attributable to US, but can be "charged" to an innocent party simply because he has more money than those at fault! When we become BLIND to our own responsibilities--even when our mistakes are none other than our own--it is a sad day and signals the END of our functioning society.

My position on this may, on the surface, seem harsh, but it, from the info we have, seems to be on the production company who did not see to the adequate protection of its own people. Now they want CSX to pay for THEIR own mistake. Me, I'd go to JAIL before I'd pay these birds one DIME!!! :( Its the PRINCIPLE of the thing, not lack of sympathy for those killed. :(
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby litz » Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:00 pm

As noted previously, when filing a suit such as this, it's standard practice to sue everyone and everything you can possibly link to the event, and let the court decide who is, and who isn't, culpable.

My guess is, being as CSX has documented evidence that they were approached for permission, and said permission was denied, they are likely to be found not culpable.

This isn't a case of running over a kid crossing a bridge on a whim ... this is a case of a movie production company willfully ignoring a denied request.

Heck, the railroad should sue the production company for the damage to the locomotive.

And the crew should, too, for everything they went through.
Last edited by litz on Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby Freddy » Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:13 pm

CSX will sue. I've done the paperwork that was sent out to the person/persons responsible for being involved in crossing accidents. With and without fatalities.
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby CSXT 4617 » Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:11 pm

Once again, we have people trying to blame the rail industry for causing a death. In most cases, it's people trespassing on railroad property and doing something incredibly stupid. In this case, putting a bed on an active railroad track. Now, I'm no expert, and I don't work for any of the railroads, but I'm positive that if they wanted to do this, then they should have sought permission from CSX Transportation. After considering the idea, CSX would either reply 'yes' or 'no'. In that case, they should take their answer and go with it, and CSX would make sure that someone for the company was there to make sure nothing went wrong and dispatchers would know what to do to keep trains like Amtrak's Silver Star or Silver Meteor safe from hitting a person such as in this tragic incident with a freight train versus a person. Basically, it's like this, if you want to use railroad property, ask a railroad, FIRST! If they say yes, be safe and make sure a railroad representative is there, and officials at the railroad know what's going on. If they say no, then stay the (censored) away and do the smart thing, and do it somewhere where it's not on railroad property, and a threat to your own life. Railroads are a busy steel highway, and trains simply can't be re-routed if no one knows what's going on with the track you are using.
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby litz » Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:12 pm

In this case, the film crew actually sought permission from CSX ... and they were explicitly denied said permission ...

It doesn't get more clear than that ...

They went and did it anyways, with tragic consequences.
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby motor » Thu Oct 02, 2014 6:02 pm

A fourth member of the film crew has been charged with crimes, reports the AP. I googled "Gregg Allman movie" but got nothing about it. Nor did I find anything about it on the site of Savannah's Channel 3. FWIW here's TRAINS' report for my fellow subscribers... http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... r-incident

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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby MaineCoonCat » Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:32 pm

motor wrote:A fourth member of the film crew has been charged with crimes, reports the AP. I googled "Gregg Allman movie" but got nothing about it. Nor did I find anything about it on the site of Savannah's Channel 3. FWIW here's TRAINS' report for my fellow subscribers... http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... r-incident

motor

An alternative source for non-subscribers: http://www.thewrap.com/midnight-rider-assistant-director-pleads-not-guilty-to-involuntary-manslaughter/
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby motor » Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:38 am

I don't have time to look it up earlier on this thread, but does anybody (like those railroad.net'ers in the film industry) have an idea what Ms. Schwartz's duties as (an) "assistant director" would've been for a flick like this?

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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby Backshophoss » Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:24 pm

On "low budget" films,the assistant director tends to some of the "minor details" as permission to film in certain areas,
setting up "location" shooting sites(outside,away from the studio)and insuring cast,crew and support services know
where to show up(the "location")and when to show up.
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:40 pm

Note 20/20 tonight covered this incident in depth.

They even made the point that they were able to get access to a railroad bridge within an hour or two of distance AND get a rail official to confirm no trains were coming and they were safe to go on the bridge to film some of their segments.

They even should like a 2 second shot of the railroad official in a safety vest on a radio (presumably making the radio contact right then, but who knows for real :-)

But the end thing is they basically made it clear the film crew had no business on the bridge and that it's relatively easy TO get access if you do in fact need it.

They also had some cab footage (they claimed released today (Friday)) of the incident. Not very clear, but does show the actors and part of the crew on the embankment before the bridge, others still on the bridge and the bed right before it got hit and became shrapnel.

I've got to admit, watching the segment really raised my ire, a senseless death because some people ignored the warnings. SO easily preventable.

The good news is apparently the industry is taking the incident to heart and instituting numerous changes to try to prevent a future such incident.
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby MaineCoonCat » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:47 am

Greg Moore wrote:Note 20/20 tonight covered this incident in depth.

They even made the point that they were able to get access to a railroad bridge within an hour or two of distance AND get a rail official to confirm no trains were coming and they were safe to go on the bridge to film some of their segments.

They even should like a 2 second shot of the railroad official in a safety vest on a radio (presumably making the radio contact right then, but who knows for real :-)

But the end thing is they basically made it clear the film crew had no business on the bridge and that it's relatively easy TO get access if you do in fact need it.

They also had some cab footage (they claimed released today (Friday)) of the incident. Not very clear, but does show the actors and part of the crew on the embankment before the bridge, others still on the bridge and the bed right before it got hit and became shrapnel.

I've got to admit, watching the segment really raised my ire, a senseless death because some people ignored the warnings. SO easily preventable.

The good news is apparently the industry is taking the incident to heart and instituting numerous changes to try to prevent a future such incident.


Some of the video from the 20/20 episode:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/camera-assistant-killed-midnight-rider-train-accident-26618524

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/footage-shows-midnight-rider-cast-crew-running-train-26618564

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/midnight-rider-director-charged-camera-assistants-death-26618605
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby Freddy » Sat Nov 01, 2014 4:14 pm

Thanks papabarn, I just watched it.
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby Rbts Stn » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:06 pm

The director, Randall Miller, pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/randall-mil ... ash-death/

The director of a movie about musician Gregg Allman pleaded guilty Monday in a train crash that killed a camera assistant and injured six film workers, and prosecutors in exchange dropped charges against his wife and business partner.

As part of the plea deal, Director Randall Miller will spend two years in the county jail and another eight on probation on involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing charges. He also will pay a $20,000 fine.

Miller's wife and business partner, Jody Savin, will no longer face the same charges.
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby patcat88 » Mon May 25, 2015 1:53 pm

Now that the final semi-report came out on the accident http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/Acci ... AB1501.pdf

The location manager refused to participate in trespassing since he would never be able to get access to any railroad again if it's known that he "breaks the rules" to get the shot. From the NTSB interview:

And they said, well, we're going to go for it. I'm like well, I can't. I'm not going to -- I don't -- I can't afford to do that. I have to go by the books. I might want to work with CSX again and I don't want to be somebody who is involved in that so I'm not going to do it.


A.
Yeah, yeah.
Q.
I mean on a bridge or a trestle scene, or just --
A.
Yeah. Yeah.
Q.
And you had -- did you have permission then?
A.
Yes.
Q.
But this one no, okay, for whatever reason.
A.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, what I do -- what I've done in the past, and I've done a significant amount of train work and some with CSX, I'll usually, depending on the extent of it, bring in a train -- an independent train coordinator who's familiar their lingo and they trust him and he's licensed. There's a guy named Author Miller; Art Miller is a very reliable transportation specialist for the railroad. And I've done a couple of projects where I hired Art to come in and --
Q.
Okay.
A.
-- he would kind of coordinate it all. But it's very laborious and redundant. The redundancy's pretty amazing, and
obviously you can see why.


So I have to wonder, if this film crew had a person with any clue about railroad operations there (and the only person they had refused to participate), and the film crew placed flares on the track at the correct locations away from the bridge, would the train have stopped? Do operating rules say unexplained flares can be ignored if there is no known reason for them? Does the engineer need to obtain dispatcher permission to stop for a unexplained unattended flare? Would a non-railroad flag man in a high-vis vest with a red flag stop the train?

And since stopping is a relative term, would the rules say the engineer is only obliged to move the throttle to idle, 5 lbs reduction, full, or dump brakes when rolling past an unexpected flag man or flares? derailment risk of dumping brakes, etc.

We know they got convicted of trespass and manslaughter, but if they DIY closed the track, what would have happened legally to them? Attempted train robbery? train jacking? Attempted train wrecking? or the engineer would flashing the finger after hearing the explanation from the non-railroad flagman and that the track is clear by the time the train stopped, and engineer just drives away like nothing happened?

The film crew also could've called CSX and lied that a vehicle was stuck on the tracks on private property, but would CSX automatically call the cops to goto the scene if they got that phone call and then the film crew will get locked up by the local police?
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Re: Film crew struck by CSX train in Wayne County, Ga.

Postby litz » Tue May 26, 2015 2:10 pm

There's an awful lot of conjecture there ...

Let's sift it down to the bare minimum ...

Any train crew, on any railroad, if they have reason to fear for life, limb, or safety of bystanders and/or equipment is going to stop.

Period.

If there's a dude standing there with a flare and a red flag, you can be double sure they're going to stop.

They don't know if he's RR or not ... or what's around the next curve. For all they know, there's a washout and the dude with the flag is someone trying to wave them down to stop.

You see something that makes you suspect things aren't safe, you ALWAYS do the most safe thing.

And the most safe thing is a train that is not moving.
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