(CN) – The director of a planned biopic about the musician Gregg Allman pleaded guilty Monday to charges stemming from an accident during filming that left a camera assistant dead and six others injured.
Randall Miller’s plea came on the first day of jury selection of his trial on involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing charges. Under the terms of his plea deal with prosecutors, Miller will serve two years in jail and pay a $20,000 fine,
In exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors agreed to drop charges against Miller’s wife and business partner, Jody Savin.
A third defendant, executive producer Jay Sedrish, also pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing on Monday. But rather than jail time, Sedrish will serve 10 years of probation from his home in California.
The charges stemmed from a deadly crash that occurred on February 20, 2014, when a train operated by CSX Transportation ran into a crew of filmmakers working on a railroad bridge spanning the Altamaha River in southeast Georgia.
Camera assistant Sarah Jones, a 27-year-old College of Charleston graduate, died at the scene. Production of the movie, which was to have starred William Hurt and Wyatt Russell, was halted after the accident.
Investigators with the Wayne County, Ga. sheriff’s department concluded the film crew walked out onto the railroad bridge despite being twice denied permission — in writing — to film anywhere near the tracks by CSX.
A March 26, 2014, report in the entertainment trade paper Variety said an assistant director warned the crew that a train might arrive during shooting, and if so, they would have about a minute to clear the tracks and get off the bridge.
Last week, that assistant director, Hillary Schwartz, was granted persmission to be tried separately from Miller and the other defendants.
The scene that was being shot was a dream sequence, and it entailed placing a hospital bed on the tracks.
The account goes on to say that the crew heard the freight train’s whistle, but immediately discovered they had no time to escape. The train hit the hospital bed and shattered it, reportedly sending shrapnel in every direction. A piece of that shrapnel hit Jones and knocked her into the path of the train.
- CA High Court Queried on Bankruptcy Issue
- Louisiana Town Must Pay Up for Absurd Ordeal