Atlanta, GA- Randall Miller, director of the Greg Allman biopic pleaded guilty to charges in connection with to an accident that left a camera operator dead and injured six other members of the film crew.
Director Randall Miller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and trespassing and was sentenced to two years in a Georgia County Jail, 8 years of probation and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. Executive produce Jay Sedrish also pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and will serve 10 years of probation, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Charges against assistant director Hilary Schwartz are still pending, according to the Associated Press.
Filming for “Midnight Rider” had just began in South Georgia on a rail trestle spanning the Altamaha River when the tragedy occurred. The film crew waited for two trains to pass—both of which were expected—and began setting up for the scene. A metal bed frame and mattress was placed on the tracks and the small crew crowded on the bridge waiting to begin the scene—it was a dream sequence. But it ended up being a nightmare for the crew.
The scene was set, but another train was coming, one the crew didn’t anticipate and sent the small crew scrambled to get off the tracks. They all grabbed their equipment and ran, but one of the crew members wouldn’t make it safely off the tracks.
Sarah Jones, a 27-year-old camera assistant, was killed when she fell and was struck by the train. Six other crew members were injured. Miller, however was unscathed.
Investigators later discovered that Miller failed to get permission for CSX railroad who owned the trestle. The railroad said they denied two Miller’s requests and the director has faced fierce criticism for putting his crew at risk to get the shot he wanted.
Jones’ parents filed a civil suit, and last November, they settled their wrongful death suit for undisclosed amount.
But there was no mea culpa from Miller. He may have pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, but he wasn’t exactly repentant about endangering his crews’ lives. During the civil trial, Miller told the court, “I was in the middle of the track and I almost died,” according to CBS News.
To many, Miller’s guilty plea was shocking since few people in Hollywood face criminal charges for deaths that occur on film sets. It sends a message that directors are not above the law and they consider the safety of their crew.
OSHA fined the film company and Miller for the accident.
As for “Midnight Rider” it will probably never see the light of day since Greg Allman successfully sued Miller, blocking him from resuming work on the film.
Workplace accidents take lives and injure many workers every year. These victims can recoup some of their accident-related expenses from workman’s compensation but it is often not enough to cover all of their costs. When this is the case, an accident attorney can help the victim of a workplace accident file and civil suit and recover a generous settlement for their pain and suffering.

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