SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The director of a movie about singer Gregg Allman and two other executives on the project were indicted Thursday on felony charges stemming from a fatal crash in which a freight train plowed into the film's crew in southeast Georgia.
A grand jury in rural Wayne County returned charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing against "Midnight Rider" director Randall Miller as well as his wife and business partner, Jody Savin, and the film's executive producer, Jay Sedrish.
If they are convicted, the filmmakers each could face up to 11 years in prison for the Feb. 20 death of Sarah Jones. The 27-year-old camera assistant from Atlanta was killed and six other crew members were struck by a train while shooting footage on a railroad bridge spanning the Altamaha River southwest of Savannah. Authorities say the train was traveling at 55 mph when it crashed into the crew and a bed that had been placed on the tracks as a movie prop.
Jones' parents, who have filed a civil lawsuit against the three indicted filmmakers and others, stopped short of praising the decision to seek a criminal prosecution.
"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," Richard Jones, the young woman's father, said in a statement. "We must allow the criminal justice process to proceed unhindered. Our mission remains the same: to ensure safety on all film sets."
Wayne County sheriff's investigators have said filmmakers had permission to be on property surrounding the tracks from the landowner, forest-products company Rayonier, but lacked permission from CSX Railroad to be filming on the actual train tracks.
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