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The National Transportation Safety Board has concluded that the probable cause of the Feb. 20, 2014, train accident on the set of “Midnight Rider” was that the production didn’t have permission to shoot on the Csx trestle over the Altamaha River near Jesup, Ga.
On Tuesday, the Ntsb said that the “probable cause of the accident was the film crew’s unauthorized entry onto the Csx Transportation right-of-way at the Altamaha River bridge with personnel and equipment, despite Csx Transportation’s repeated denial of permission to access the railroad property. Contributing to the accident was the adjacent property owner’s actions to facilitate the film crew’s access to the right-of-way and bridge.”
Twenty-seven-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed and eight others were injured in the accident.
Although the results of the investigation are in line with those of local authorities and federal workplace safety officials, the Ntsb report did »
- Ted Johnson
Midnight Rider director Randall Miller, who was sentenced to prison for the tragic on-set death of camera assistant Sarah Jones, has penned a statement taking responsibility for the train accident and revealing the circumstances that led him to plead guilty. The filmmaker behind the Gregg Allman biopic said the incident atop a railway trestle in rural Georgia "was a horrible tragedy that will haunt me forever" and that "my decision to shoot the scripted scene that caused this tragedy."
After pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing stemming from the February 2014 incident, »
The director said he changed his plea to guilty to spare the family of Sarah Jones.
Miller said in a statement from prison (via Deadline): "On Feb 20th, 2014, a great number of mistakes were made and the terrible accident occurred which took Sarah Jones' life. It was a horrible tragedy that will haunt me forever."
He continued: "I pleaded guilty for three reasons: first, to protect my wife and family; second, out of respect for the Jones family and to not put them through a difficult trial; and, third, to take responsibility for my failure in not knowing that every safety measure was in place."
Miller added that as director it was his responsibility to ensure the safety of the team.
"I could have asked more questions, »
ABC’s 20/20 tonight aired a segment about the Midnight Rider case that included chilling video of the train accident that killed Sarah Jones last year. The footage, first shown in court, shows the film crew running for their lives as they try to get clear of a freight train barreling down on them, all the while blaring its horn. Jones died in the ensuing impact, and six other crew members were injured. On March 9, the day his trial was set to begin, director Randall Miller… »
Midnight Rider director Randall Miller, who two weeks ago pleaded guilty to criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter in the on-set death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones, issued a statement tonight to the Associated Press — and subsequently obtained by Deadline — from his jail cell saying that he accepted responsibility for the accident that killed her and injured six others. His wife, Jody Savin, producer of Midnight Rider also issued a statement (see… »
Making his first comments since he was sentenced to two years in jail, director Randall Miller said in a statement on Friday that he accepts responsibility for the Feb. 20, 2014 train accident on the set on “Midnight Rider.”
“It was a horrible tragedy that will haunt me forever,” Miller said in a statement. “Although I relied on my team, it is ultimately my responsibility and was my decision to shoot the scripted scene that caused this tragedy.
He added, “The location manager, the production designer, the unit production manager, the cinematographer, assistant director and others all made mistakes that lead to this, but I have taken responsibility because I could have asked more questions and I was the one in charge.”
Miller, serving his time in Wayne County Jail in Jesup, Ga., was sentenced on March 9 after pleading guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones. »
- Ted Johnson
Midnight Rider director Randall Miller has released a statement following his guilty plea earlier this month to charges related to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones. Read More 'Midnight Rider' Trial: Sarah Jones Remembered in Family Statements On Mar. 9, Miller took a guilty plea from prosecutors, which included dismissing wife and Midnight Rider producer Jody Savin's charges in the deal. Miller received 10 years of jail time, and his guilty plea bars him from directing a film, taking on a first A.D. role or supervising a film crew for the duration of his probation. The director will
- THR Staff
Et has new video of the fatal train crash during the filming of the movie Midnight Rider that shows the cast and crew running for their lives on Feb. 20, 2014.
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The incident occurred so fast that the film crew had little time to scramble off the tracks as a two-story freight train barreled towards them. The collision claimed the life of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones and injured six others.
Midnight Rider was a film centered on the life of Gregg Allman, but the rock star has reportedly sued to end production after the accident. William Hurt was set to play Allman and Kurt Russell's son Wyatt was on board to co-star.
Russell and Hurt can both be seen in the video clearing the track.
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The Hollywood Reporter executive editor Matthew Belloni says it's believed that the film company had no permission »
A version of this story first appeared in the March 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. It was expected to take a week to try director Randall Miller, his producer (and Miller's wife) Jody Savin and producer Jay Sedrish for involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass connected with the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones, who was hit by a train a year ago on the set of their Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider. But the trial in rural Wayne County, Ga., never happened. On Monday morning Miller switched his plea to guilty in a deal with prosecutors, which included
- Austin Siegemund-Broka
The moments before the train collision that killed Sarah Jones on the set of Midnight Rider were caught on video in a clip shown in court Tuesday. In the video, crew members and Wyatt Russell, a star of Randall Miller's biopic of Gregg Allman, rush from the railroad tracks hauling camera equipment and the prop bed used in the scene they were shooting over Georgia's Altamaha River. The train's whistle is audible in the background. The video ends with the sound of the crash. Jones, a 27-year-old camera assistant, was killed when the train hit her. The prop
- Austin Siegemund-Broka
Director Randall Miller pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter in the death of assistant camera operator Sarah Jones, who was killed in an on-set train accident last year while working on Midnight Rider. Randall Miller Pleads Guilty Miller reportedly decided to plead guilty, a rarity in such cases, so that he could be sure to […]
- Chelsea Regan
Jesup, Ga. — Jackie Johnson, the district attorney who led the prosecution in the “Midnight Rider” criminal case, said she hoped that they were prepared to show the extent to which the filmmakers knew that they did not have permission to be on the Csx railroad tracks and that their location was dangerous.
“I think it is easy to call this an accident; this was a very preventable tragedy,” she told reporters after the final defendant, the movie’s first assistant director Hillary Schwartz, was sentenced to 10 years’ probation.
“Had everything been done, had everyone been doing their job that day, and had there been communication, I think that this would not have happened in any industry, whether it is the railroad industry or even in my office. Somebody has got to be in charge, and somebody has got to make sure that everybody else is doing their job as they should. »
- Ted Johnson
Hillary Schwartz, the 1st A.D. on "Midnight Rider," was tried in Wayne County superior court on Tuesday for involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in the case of the death of Sarah Jones, the camera assistant who was killed during the film's production. Judge Anthony Harrison found her guilty on both counts, involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass. She was sentenced to a $5,000 fine, ten year's probation and restricted from acting as a director, producer, first assistant director or any department head with safety responsibilities. Read More: "Midnight Rider" Director Randall Miller Changes Plea to Guilty Jones was killed and eight other workers were injured while trying to escape an oncoming freight train during the filming of a scene on the tracks of a train trestle in Georgia on Feb. 20, 2014 for the biopic based on the life of musician Gregg Allman. The accident spawned a series of debates over the unspoken dangers crew. »
- Paula Bernstein
The sentencing of “Midnight Rider” director Randall Miller drew a sharp, swift response from Steven Poster, president of the International Cinematographers Guild, on Monday. While Poster said that Miller’s 10-year sentence “does provide some small sense of closure,” he also noted that the sentencing should send an industry-wide message that “No movie or TV show is worth a life.” Also Read: ‘Midnight Rider’ Trial: Director Randall Miller Changes Plea to Guilty The trial stemmed from the death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones, who died while filming the Gregg Allman biopic last year when a train struck her while a dream sequence was. »
- Tim Kenneally
Exclusive Video: In this series of video clips beginning above and continuing below, Assistant District Attorney John Johnson lays out the events that led to the death of Sarah Jones on the set of Midnight Rider last year. The first video begins with the film’s director, Randall Miller, telling Judge Anthony Harrison that he was accepting a plea deal that includes two years in county jail, and eight more years of probation. Before accepting the plea deal and handing down… »
Instead of putting the finishing touches on his movie, Randall Miller will spend at least a year behind bars. The director of the proposed Allman Brothers Band biopic Midnight Rider has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing in connection with the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones, who was struck and killed by a freight train on the film's Georgia set in February 2014. Miller was sentenced to two years in county jail, followed by eight years of probation, and fined $20,000, Deadline reported Monday, noting that the veteran filmmaker's lawyer said his client would probably only spend about a year in jail. He is barred, however, from directing or otherwise participating in »
Steven Poster, International Cinematographers Guild, who helped organize the vigil shortly after Sarah Jones death last year and whose members launched a safety app to report on-set safety violations, just released a statement on the Midnight Rider case. The film’s director Randall Miller pled guilty to criminal trespassing and involuntary manslaughter and is tonight starting the first night of two years in the Wayne County Jail. He will serve another 8 years on… »
Exclusive Video: After expressing “some reluctance” to accept the historic plea deal that will send Midnight Rider director Randall Miller to county jail for two years, Georgia Circuit Court Judge Anthony Harrison handed down the first-ever felony sentences to filmmakers for an on-set death, as shown in this exclusive video above, shot for Deadline by Patricia Leon. Harrison called the death of Sarah Jones, a camera assistant killed when a train barreled through the Midnig… »
Exclusive: In this exclusive video shot for Deadline by Patricia Leon, Midnight Rider director Randall Miller is seen officially agreeing to the plea deal that ended the trial against him and his wife, and will lead to a historic first felony conviction of a filmmaker for an on-set death. Here, Miller and his attorney, the district attorney and the judge lay out and sign off on the plea agreement. Under it, Miller was sentenced to 10 years total with two years in prison… »
The Directors Guild of America has called for more work on set safety in the wake of DGA member and “Midnight Rider” director Randall Miller pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the February 2014 death of Sarah Jones.
Miller received a sentence of two years in prison, 10 years probation, a $20,000 fine and 360 hours of community service in a court hearing Monday in Georgia.
“This tragic accident and its consequences must serve as an indelible reminder to everyone involved in film production that safety on set is of paramount importance,” the DGA said in a statement. “In the year since Sarah Jones’ horrific death, the dialogue within the entertainment community about being vigilant on set and speaking up if something seems unsafe has certainly increased, and organizations including the DGA have reiterated the availability of 24/7 safety hotlines to report concerns.”
The guild, which has over 15,000 members, did not mention Miller by name. »
- Dave McNary
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