Family of Sarah Jones speaks after conclusion of civil trial

Family of Sarah Jones speaks after conclusion of civil trial

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - The parents of Sarah Jones are speaking out after a verdict was reached Monday in the 'Midnight Rider' civil trial against CSX Transportation.

CSX was found responsible for Jones' death on Feb. 20, 2014, while she was working with a film crew on a train trestle in Jesup. A jury decided $3.9 million will be awarded to the family.

We sat down with Jones' parents on Tuesday to talk about their journey in finding justice for their daughter. It's been a grueling past week for them after hearing days of testimony about the tragic death of their daughter as a train struck her while she was pursuing her passion for filmmaking. The Jones family says they are satisfied with the verdict.

"The facts and the understanding of what occurred that day and the days leading up to it needed to be understood and examined. Hopefully, from doing so, we can keep it from happening again," said Richard Jones, Sarah Jones' father.

Telling Sarah's story and holding CSX Transportation responsible, Jones' parents have been staying strong leading up to the jury's decision.

"It was not so much about the money, but it was about finding out what happened on that horrible day," said Elizabeth Jones, Sarah's mother.

Internal emails in the trial showed CSX was considering the request for filmmakers to come on the Doctortown Trestle, but on the day of the shoot, CSX sent an email saying they could not support the request.

"The wording was vague enough they seized the opportunity and did what they should not have done," said Richard Jones, Sarah's father.

One of the most disturbing parts to Sarah's father is how two trains passed the crew before the third barreled through the trestle, striking the hospital bed prop on the tracks and killing Sarah on impact. None of the trains called to report the crew trespassing.

"I have seen the proper way to do it, and I looked at the way they did it and I strongly felt - based on my own experiences in the rail industry - that it was not done properly," Jones said.

Sarah's family hopes CSX will make changes based on the trial. Sarah's mother told us one last thing she would like from them.

"I would like to have an apology, but we've had nothing," she said.

On Tuesday, CSX released the following statement to WTOC:

CSX is deeply sympathetic to the terrible loss suffered by the family of Ms. Sarah Jones, but respectfully disagrees with the conclusions reached by the jury today and will appeal.

The Jones family will be working to make sure film crews have what they need to keep workers safe on a set.

"The Sarah Jones Film Foundation and the Safety for Sarah efforts, it's just carrying her voice forward," Richard Jones said.

Sarah Jones lives on. In the beginning, we saw Slates for Sarah, movie stars and crews remembering a passionate colleague, but now Sarah's parents are working on much more.

"Awareness, education, we have T-Shirts, walkathons, and we will be increasing that as we give more and more to the foundation," Elizabeth Jones said.

The foundation allows the Jones' to provide grants to students who are making films and may need money to pay for an off-duty police officer, medic, walkie talkies, proper permitting, things to prevent a tragic event like the loss of Sarah.

"Hopefully, to keep someone from losing their daughter, ton, mother, or father. That's the bottom line purpose," said Richard Jones.

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