Allman movie: Filmmakers speak out on train crash - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Allman movie: Filmmakers speak out on train crash

Posted: Updated:
By RUSS BYNUM
Associated Press

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Two filmmakers charged in a train collision that killed a camera assistant while shooting a movie about singer Gregg Allman said Thursday her death "will haunt us forever." But they insisted they committed no crimes that put their crew in harm's way.

"Midnight Rider" director Randall Miller and Jody Savin, his wife and business partner, issued a joint statement two weeks after a grand jury indicted them on charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing in southeast Georgia. Their attorney, Don Samuel, said Thursday he entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the California-based couple.

The filmmakers had just begun shooting their movie based on Allman's life on Feb. 20 when a freight train plowed into their crew on a railroad bridge southwest of Savannah. Six crew members were injured and 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones of Atlanta was killed.

"This devastating loss of Sarah, a young crew member who was just starting out with us, will haunt us forever," Miller and Savin's statement said. "Our hearts are broken, our spirits are broken."

Sheriff's investigators said the filmmakers climbed onto the train trestle without permission from CSX Railroad, though they had permission from another company to shoot on property it owned surrounding the tracks.

The indictment charges Miller, Savin and Jay Sedrish, an executive producer on the film, with unintentionally causing Jones' death by trespassing on the railroad bridge. The filmmakers went onto the train trestle even after CSX denied them access, the indictment says.

"When the true facts of the events are revealed, people will know that this was not a crime: we never had criminal intent; we would never knowingly or intentionally put anybody's safety at risk," Miller and Savin's statement said. "This was a horrible tragedy and a horrific accident."

Sedrish's attorney, John Ossick Jr., did not immediately return a phone message left after business hours Thursday evening.

A spokeswoman for the law firm representing Jones' parents - Richard and Elizabeth Jones of Columbia, South Carolina - said they had no comment. Richard Jones has previously said he and his wife were "comfortable that the authorities were both careful and meticulous in investigating and bringing charges" in their daughter's death.

Involuntary manslaughter is a felony carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison under Georgia law. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor punishable by no more than a year in prison.

Production on "Midnight Rider" was halted after the crash. Allman filed a civil lawsuit against Miller and Savin seeking to prevent them from restarting the project. They settled out of court without disclosing terms.

Miller directed the 2008 film "Bottle Shock" as well as "Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School" in 2005, "Noble Son" in 2007 and "CGBG" last year. He and Savin have an independent production company, Unclaimed Freight Productions, based in Pasadena, California.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • France sends soldiers to guard Air Algeria wreck

    France sends soldiers to guard Air Algeria wreck

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:05 AM EDT2014-07-25 09:05:14 GMT
    French officials say that the wreckage of an Air Algeria plane which crashed with 116 people aboard has been found in Mali.More
    French officials dispatched a military unit to secure the site in restive Mali where an Air Algeria plane crashed with 116 people aboard. France's interior minister said Friday that terrorism cannot be excluded as a...More
  • Taliban kill 14 Shiites in Afghanistan road attack

    Taliban kill 14 Shiites in Afghanistan road attack

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:52 AM EDT2014-07-25 08:52:10 GMT
    An Afghan official says Taliban insurgents halted minibuses in western Afghanistan, identified 14 Shiite passengers and shot them dead by the side of the road.More
    An Afghan official says Taliban insurgents halted minibuses in western Afghanistan, identified 14 Shiite passengers and shot them dead by the side of the road.More
  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border

    Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:33 AM EDT2014-07-25 08:33:37 GMT
    The Ukrainian army has reported rebel attacks overnight throughout the restive east, claiming that at one border crossing the rebels were supported by artillery fire from the Russian side.More
    The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east.More
Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service