'Midnight Rider' filmmakers say crash that killed Sarah Jones 'was not a crime'

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Two filmmakers charged in a collision that killed camera assistant Sarah Jones while shooting a movie about singer Gregg Allman say the crash "will haunt us forever," but they insist they committed no crimes.

"Midnight Rider" director Randall Miller and his wife and business partner, Jody Savin, issued a statement through their attorney Thursday. They were indicted July 3, along with an executive producer, in rural southeast Georgia on involuntary manslaughter charges.

The filmmakers were shooting on a railroad bridge Feb. 20 southwest of Savannah when a freight train plowed into the crew, injuring six people and killing 27-year-old camera assistant Jones. Investigators say the crew was trespassing on the tracks.

Miller and Savin said the crash "was not a crime" but rather was "a horrific accident."

The statement issued through their attorneys is below (via Variety):

Today we entered a Not-Guilty plea to the indictment that was handed down in Wayne County, Georgia.

We have remained silent out of respect for the family of Sarah Jones, their loved ones and all of the crew who were injured on that very sad day February 20th, 2014.

This devastating loss of Sarah, a young crew member who was just starting out with us, will haunt us forever.  Our hearts are broken, our spirits are broken.   We have young children and can only imagine with immense sadness the heartbreak of losing a child.  We are praying for Sarah’s family.

We have been in the television and movie business since 1990. We have produced and directed more than 10 features and television movies.  We have always emphasized the safety of the crew. In all those years we have never had a significant injury or accident of any kind.   We believe in protecting our crew – the crew who work so hard on our movies. We consider them to be family. Many of them have worked with us on several of our films.  All of our movies have been union films. No crew member has ever left one of our movies over a concern about safety.   As members of the WGA, the DGA, SAG, the Television Academy and the IATSE, we believe in living up to the aspirations of those organizations.

In the weeks and months that follow 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. This was a horrible tragedy and a horrific accident.

We will dedicate ourselves in the future to honoring Sarah’s memory by promoting the safest work environment for everybody in the film industry.

Humbly,
Randy Miller and Jody Savin

With contributions by KPCC staff

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