Entertainment & Arts

Greg Allman biopic train death trial ends

Randall Miller in court in May 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption Miller, pictured during an earlier court appearance, will spend two years in county jail

The trial over a fatal train crash on the set of a biopic about the singer Gregg Allman has come to a close.

Assistant director Hillary Schwartz was the final person to be convicted over the accident, which killed camera assistant Sarah Jones.

Six other crew members were also injured when they were hit by a train in February last year.

The director of the film Randall Miller and executive producer Jay Sedrish pleaded guilty on Monday.

They admitted involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing to avoid trial.

Miller was sentenced to two years in the Wayne County jail and an additional eight years on probation.

His guilty plea included a deal which saw charges dropped against his producer wife, Jody Savin.

The director, whose previous films include 2008's Bottle Shock, will also pay a $20,000 (£13,200) fine and work 360 hours of community service.

Sedrish received 10 years' probation which bars him from directing or serving as a first or second assistant director or crew supervisor, plus a $10,000 (£6,700) fine.

Ms Schwartz waived her right for trial by jury and opted for a judge to decide her case.

She was sentenced to 10 years' probation and a $5,000 (£3,300) fine.

Assistant district attorney John B Johnson said Sarah Jones' family was "satisfied with the outcome".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption William Hurt had been cast as Allman (pictured) in the film

Jones was hit by a freight train on 20 February 2014 - the first day of filming on Midnight Rider - in south east Georgia.

The 27-year-old was fatally struck after the crew placed a hospital bed on the railway tracks in Doctortown while filming a dream sequence.

The train, which was travelling at 55 mph, shattered the bed, sending a shower of debris that injured other crew members.

Jones, who had been setting up camera equipment, died instantly when she was struck by the train's fuel tank and run over.

Filming was suspended in the aftermath of the accident, and actor William Hurt - who was due to play Allman - pulled out of the production.

Investigators found CSX Transportation, which owns the railroad bridge, had denied the film-makers permission to work on its tracks.

Jones's death led to nationwide calls for a push for improved safety standards on sets.

Her father Richard Jones said he hoped "the sacrifice of our daughter's life will continue to change the film industry".'

Speaking to reporters outside the court on Monday he said: "I believe it sends a message, frankly, that if you do not respect those you're in charge of, you may end up behind bars.''

Allman sued Miller in civil court last year to prevent the director from reviving the project. They settled out of court but terms were not disclosed.

Related Topics

More on this story