Investigation into fatal Wayne County Train crash turned over to - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Investigation into fatal Wayne County Train crash turned over to the DA

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The investigation into the fatal train wreck in Wayne County that killed film crew member Sarah Jones has wrapped up on the law enforcement side.

The question remains, are the producers of the film Midnight Rider looking to start filming again.

The fatal crash happened on Feb. 20, almost two months ago. Will the Wayne County Sheriff's Office file criminal charges in the case?

The sheriff said the case is no longer being treated as a homicide on their end, and they will leave the decision on what charges are filed up to the Wayne County District Attorney, Jackie Johnson.

Johnson will be getting the sheriff's office's investigation report next week.

Jones' family, and many in the film industry, have called what happened on those train tracks senseless and criminal, and the sheriff explained why the investigation seemed to take so long.

"We had most of the interviews done on scene the day of the accident," said Wayne County Sheriff John Carter.

Carter said he knows many were frustrated with how long the investigation seemed to last, but he said outside one more interview this week to verify some facts, their end of the investigation is done and will be turned over to the DA next week.

He said he can't speak for the probes still in process by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or National Transportation safety board.

"Were they misled? Were they not given proper information? I don't know about the safety part because that is something OSHA is going to do, NTSB, those types of things," said Carter.

Since the deadly train crash on the tracks over the Altamaha River, Sheriff Carter said his investigators have had to deal with a variety of issues.

While other agencies focused on safety of the Unclaimed Freight Production of Midnight Rider, based on the life of rocker Gregg Allman, Carter said his investigators dealt with other violent crimes in their county as well as finding witnesses and dealing with their lawyers.

All of it, he said, is time consuming.

"Most of them, I don't know if they would shed a whole lot of particulars of what we are looking for more than we already know," said Carter.

What they do know is a train came through while the film crew was on the tracks, and Sarah Jones didn't make it off the tracks alive. Her death has triggered a safety movement throughout the film industry, but determining who was responsible and should be held accountable will be up to the DA, as well as if criminal trespass or more serious criminal charges will eventually be decided on.

"It could be involuntary homicide at best, and I mean that is the highest charge that could come out of it," said Carter.

The legal team for the producers of Midnight Rider, Unclaimed Freight, said they cannot comment on the investigation, but there were reports the movie may try to start production back up in June, but this time in Los Angeles.

All the publicity people for the movie would say there are discussion taking place. Film industry workers, already on Facebook, said they will boycott the production.

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