The first criminal charges have been made in regards to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones on the set of Midnight Rider. According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Randall Miller and producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in the Wayne County, Georgia superior court. The crew was filming its Gregg Allman biopic on a trestle bridge under unsafe conditions on February 20, and it’s unclear whether it had permission to be there. When a train arrived unexpectedly, Jones was struck and killed. Several other crew members were also injured. Involuntary manslaughter carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison under Georgia law, while criminal trespass carries a potential sentence of 12 months.
Since the accident, star William Hurt has left the project, leaving the role of the elder Gregg Allman still to be recast. Meanwhile, Allman himself asked that production be halted, before later suing the film, then dropping that lawsuit. Jones’ parents have also filed a civil suit for wrongful death against the production. Train track operator CSX Transportation and land owner Rayonier were also listed as defendants in that suit.
In a statement backing these latest criminal charges, Jones’ father Richard explained:
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.