Producers for the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider will face charges of Involuntary Manslaughter.
Randall Miller, Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish have been charged in a Georgia court with involuntary manslaughter in the February death of camera assistant Sarah Jones while filming for the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider.
Pre-production filming was being done on a train trestle in when an unexpected train came down the tracks, injuring a number of crew members and killing Jones. Deadline Hollywood did an investigative report on the accident which shed new light on the incident. In an article from today, they summed up the situation:
The crew waited for two trains to pass before loading a metal hospital bed onto the narrow bridge suspended over the river, and Hurt prepared to climb on top of it for the filming of a dream sequence. When an unexpected third train approached, some members of the crew tried to move the heavy bed off the tracks and save the camera equipment. They didn’t have time. Hurt, Miller, Jones, and several others including hairstylist Joyce Gilliard, a makeup artist (who was one of those physically injured), and the set photographer fled along the only escape route off the trestle, a narrow pathway wide enough for one person at a time. As the train hit the bed, it shattered, sending metal debris everywhere like shrapnel.
Since the incident, a number of protests have occurred in Hollywood over poor working conditions, in general, in the industry for those working behind the scenes, film star William Hurt has pulled out and Allman, himself, has requested and then sued for the shutdown of the production. At least two lawsuits have also been filed over the accident.
Investigators from Wayne County, GA have investigated the incident and brought it before a grand jury on Wednesday who immediately returned an indictment.
The three filmmakers could face up to ten years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter and an additional year for criminal trespass if found guilty.
Richard Jones, father of Sarah Jones, released the following statement:
Elizabeth and I are comfortable that the authorities were both careful and meticulous in investigating and bringing charges related to the incident that took our daughter’s life. We must allow the criminal justice process to proceed unhindered. Our mission remains the same: to ensure safety on all film sets. Safety for Sarah.
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