Randall Miller and his wife, Jody Savin, the production team behind the Gregg Allman biopic, Midnight Rider, have released a statement regarding the criminal charges they face in the death of 27-year-old camera assistant, Sarah Jones. Though they say the accident will “haunt them forever,” they deny knowingly putting anybody’s safety at risk, according to the Associated Press via ABC News.
“The devastating loss of Sarah, a young crew member who was just starting out with us, will haunt us forever,” the couple said in a joint statement through their attorney, Don Samuel. “Our hearts are broken, our spirits are broken.”
Though Miller and Savin say that they have been affected by the tragedy, they say they should not face any criminal punishment for the crash. “When the true facts of the events are revealed, people will know this was not a crime: we never had criminal intent; we would never knowingly or intentionally put anybody’s safety at risk,” the statement continued. “This was a horrible tragedy and a horrific accident.”
Miller and Savin were indicted by a grand jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing in Georgia two weeks ago. Samuel said Thursday he has entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the couple, who reside in California. Involuntary manslaughter is a felony and carries a maximum punishment of up to 10 years in prison under Georgia law, according to ABC News.
The charges stem from a train crash that killed Jones during production of Midnight Rider. Jones was struck by a freight train that roared across the bridge while filming. Seven other crew members were injured during the fatal accident and treated at a nearby hospital.
In addition to criminal charges, Midnight Rider production heads also face civil charges that have been filed by Jones’ parents, who believe their daughter’s death was senseless. Documents filed by the parents state filmmakers “selected an unreasonably dangerous site for the filming location; failed to secure approval for filming from CSX [the company that owns the freight train that struck Jones]; concealed their lack of approval from CSX from cast and crew; and otherwise failed to to take measures to protect the safety of Midnight Rider cast and crew.”
Jones’ death sparked a wave of celeb support for both Jones herself and film crew members as a whole. The “Slates for Sarah” campaign was created to draw attention to crew safety.