Film director pleads guilty in Georgia railroad bridge death

Story highlights

  • NTSB found probable cause of train accident was trespassing
  • Sarah Elizabeth Jones was killed when a train hit movie crew members last year
  • Director Randall Miller has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass
  • Railroad company denied permission to film on bridge, Savannah Morning News reports

(CNN)The director of "Midnight Rider" has pleaded guilty to charges related to the 2014 death of a crew member while filming.

Randall Miller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass Monday morning in Wayne County (Georgia) Superior Court, Deputy Clerk of Courts Betty Taylor said.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced on March 24 the probable cause of the accident was trespassing by the film's crew.
    As part of the plea deal, Miller will spend two years behind bars and then serve eight years of probation. The deal prohibits him from directing films or being in any supervisory position in movies that would make him responsible for the safety of others for a period of 10 years.
    Miller, who was also ordered to pay $20,000 in fines and perform 360 hours of community service, was remanded in to custody of the sheriff to begin his sentence.
    A freight train hit members of the crew of the Gregg Allman biopic while they were working on a railroad bridge in February 2014. Camera assistant Sarah Elizabeth Jones, 27, was killed.
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    The production had applied to the railroad company for permission to film on the bridge but was denied, according to the Savannah Morning News.
    Several other crew members were injured in the incident, CNN affiliate WTOC reported.
    Jones was mourned throughout the film community. Friends set up a Facebook group, Slates for Sarah, and her death was noted in the Academy Awards' "In Memoriam" montage.
    Three additional members of the production staff faced charges related to the incident. As part of the plea agreement with Miller, charges were dropped against Jody Savin, Miller's wife and business partner, Taylor said. Miller and Savin are listed as owners of Unclaimed Fright Productions Inc., the film's production company, according to the indictment.
    Jay Sedrish, the film's executive producer, also received 10 years of probation. As part of his plea deal, he will be banned from supervisory positions in films for 10 years. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $10,000.
    A third member of the crew, first assistant director Hillary Schwartz, was found guilty after a bench trial, according to District Attorney Jackie Johnson's office. Schwartz was sentenced to 10 years of probation and ordered to pay a fine of $5,000. Like the others, he was ordered not to be involved in the safety of film crews.
    Schwartz had made a deal to provide testimony for the state if the case went to trial, according to the district attorney's office.
    Jones' parents were in court for the pleas and the trial of those involved in the death of their daughter, addressing the court before the sentencing of each, according to Johnson's office.