Midnight Rider Filmmakers Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter in Death of Sarah Jones
The filmmakers of Midnight Rider have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in the death of Sarah Jones. The 27-year-old camera assistant — who had also worked as a second camera assistant on The Vampire Diaries — was struck and killed by a train in February while setting up a shot for the Gregg Allman biopic on a Georgian railroad trestle. Seven other crew members were injured in the incident.
According to Deadline, the manslaughter charge brought against filmmakers Randall Miller, Jody Savin, and Jay Sedrish carries with it a 10-year prison sentence, while the criminal trespass misdemeanour carries a potential one-year sentence.
Involuntary manslaughter refers to the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought — i.e. without intention — and can sometimes refer to murder as a result of serious negligence or recklessness, which may apply to the circumstances of Sarah’s death.
It is still unclear whether the production had permission to film on the railroad tracks, though the charge of criminal trespass suggests the prosecution believes it can prove that Midnight Rider did not. Prior claims from the film’s producers implied they had received some form of email consent, but CSX — the company that owns the tracks — insists they denied any such request.