Attorney: Allman Not At Fault In Ga. Train Crash

An attorney for Gregg Allman said Friday that it is “unfortunate, unwarranted and without merit” that the singer is being sued over the death of a young woman killed when a freight train smashed into a Georgia film crew making a movie about Allman’s life.

Photo: Stephen B. Morton/AP
David Long-Daniels, attorney for Gregg Allman, during a hearing in Savannah, Ga.

“Mr. Allman simply provided an option to acquire motion picture rights to his life story and his autobiography,” Atlanta attorney David Long-Daniels said in a prepared statement. He said the Allman Brothers Band singer had input into the script, casting and music of the film “Midnight Rider,” but “had no role in securing any location for the making of the movie or the actual physical production of the film.”

Allman was among 18 defendants named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed Wednesday in Savannah by the parents of Sarah Jones. The 27-year-old camera assistant died and six crew members were injured Feb. 20 when they were struck by a train while filming on a railroad bridge in southeast Georgia. Sheriff’s investigators have said the filmmakers did not have permission from the railroad to be on the tracks.

The lawsuit targets Allman in his capacity as an executive producer on the film, though he was not on the set when the train crash occurred.

“He has legal responsibility for what happens on the shoot,” attorney Jeffrey R. Harris, who represents the Jones family, said in an interview Thursday. “He, at least on paper, is a member of the management structure of the film.”

Long-Daniels said Allman had previously expressed his condolences to Jones’ family and remained in contact with them. Allman also opposed allowing director Randall Miller to restart the production, which was shelved after the crash. The attorney said Jones’ father sent an email to a representative for the singer April 27 to thank Allman and “extend my gratitude for his position regarding the Midnight Rider movie.”

Photo: James P. Hendershot
Merriweather Post Pavilion, Colombia, Md.

Attorneys for Allman and the director reached a settlement over rights to the film last week, but details were not disclosed.