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.


Many of the TVD cast and crew were amongst the most vocal supporters of a petition to have Sarah’s name added to the Oscars “In Memoriam” segment, as well as a more general call for better on-set safety practices in the wake of Sarah’s death.

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.

Source: Deadline

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!