'Midnight Rider' Director, Producers Charged in Death of Film Crew Member

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Gregg Allman and Derek Trucks of The Allman Brothers Band perform at Beacon Theatre on March 1, 2013 in New York City.

"Midnight Rider" director Randall Miller and producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in Wayne County, Georgia superior court following the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones, it was announced Thursday.

Jones was struck and killed by a train last February on the Wayne County, Georgia set of the Gregg Allman biopic. Following that, the Wayne County sheriff's office and the NTSB were among the agencies investigating the incident. The sheriff's office turned its findings over to the district attorney's office in late April, with the former letting the DA decide whether to file charges in the matter. Wayne County detective Joe Gardner presented the case to the grand jury on Wednesday. 

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Involuntary manslaughter carries a potential sentence of ten years in prison under Georgia law, according to Thursday's announcement from district attorney Jackie Johnson. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor and carries a potential sentence of twelve months. Miller and Savin own the production company behind the film, Unclaimed Freight. Sedrish was the film's executive producer. 

These are the first criminal charges filed regarding Jones' death, which has served as a wake-up call for the entertainment industry about on-set safety issues. Production on the film has since been suspended, with star William Hurt, who was on set when Jones was killed, pulling out of the project. 

Several civil suits have recently been filed against Miller, Savin, Sedrish and various other individuals and companies associated with the film. 

The Midnight Rider team was filming a dream sequence on the railroad tracks and trestle at Doctortown Landing in Wayne County, Ga. The crew tried to clear the tracks when a train approached, but Jones was struck and killed. Several other crew members were injured. 

Thursday's announcement said there would be no further comment from the district attorney's office on the pending case.

This article was first published by The Hollywood Reporter


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