Last week, 20th February to be exact, word spread of the tragic passing of 27 year old Sarah Jones, who was killed by a train accident on set of ‘Midnight Rider’. Seven others were injured in the accident and the accident is still under investigation by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, CSX transportation police, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Throughout the week tributes have been pouring in for Sarah within the film community, in particularly on the ‘Slates For Sarah’ facebook page with posts of photos of film slates with in memoriam messages from various production crews and now there is a online petition to have Sarah Jones included in the ‘In Memoriam’ segment of the Oscars, which is on this weekend.
The message on the online petition is as follows:
Sarah Elizabeth Jones was a West Columbia native who died last week while filming a movie in South Georgia.
Only 27 years old, Sarah’s promising life was cut short when she was struck by a train while working on a dangerous set. Crew members are the unsung heroes of film and television production who work long hours and sometimes very dangerous conditions for the love of filmmaking. Sarah Elizabeth Jones was one of us.
We ask for Sarah Elizabeth Jones’ love and passion for filmmaking be acknowledged on the grandest stage of all, The Academy Awards.
UPDATE: This petition will be submitted for consideration by The Academy by Saturday, March 1st at noon. Thank you for supporting one of our own.
#SafetyForSarah #SlatesforSarah #RIPSarahJones
So far the petition is short of 500 signatures shy of it’s goal of reaching 51,000 signatures to send to The Academy so all you have to do is sign enter your name to do so.
Now, various articles are giving their opinions on the matter have having Sarah included in the ‘In Memoriam’ section, including one in Variety by Tim Gray which said:
An online petition is requesting that the Oscar segment include Sarah Jones, the 27-year-old Atlanta crew member killed by a train while filming “Midnight Rider.” That petition is touching and heartfelt, and I agree that any worker, in any field, deserves special recognition if he or she died in the line of duty.
But it would be unprecedented to include a crew member whose name is not widely known.
Now since I seen that yesterday, the article has edited out the ‘unprecedented’ line, probably due to the backlash on the comments section from various people. I’m sure that wasn’t Tim’s decision to cause such a fuss about it as I get what he means with the segment having to go through so many names in a short space of time that’s given for the segment as there has been notable names left out of the segment in previous years, which he touches on in the article.
But in my opinion, you would hope for an exception and common sense to prevail in a case like this as Sarah Jones deserves to be put into the ‘In Memoriam’ segment. First off, sadly past away too soon just to get a shot, which appears to be the case of safety neglect for the crew. The health and safety set in place didn’t protect her or probably even worse in this case if true, not even considered and cost her life to be cut short. Sarah Jones is no longer ‘unprecedented to include a widely unknown’ name and just having her included in the segment could contribute to substantial awareness and meaningful change in the industry (wishful thinking on my part).
If not a part of the ‘In Memoriam’ at least be mentioned by one of the presenters at some point. I mean it’s such a serious issue that affects everyone in the film industry, that a lot are paying tributes too and to not mention it at the film industry big awards ceremony would be a disservice to crew members everywhere and how they are seen in the big picture.
She died on set helping make a film which she was ultimately let down by the people above her and hopefully this will set a debate for change in the health and safety for crews everywhere , big right down to local productions, and that will continue Sarah Jones legacy, to make sure an accident like this doesn’t happen again.
The Jones’ family is requesting that donations be made to the Sarah Jones Scholarship Fund, c/o Brookland-Cayce High School, 1300 State St., Cayce, SC 29033.