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Allman film assistant gets own trial in Georgia train crash

February 26, 2015

JESUP, Georgia (AP) — An assistant director on an ill-fated Gregg Allman biographical movie will stand trial separately from three of her bosses charged in a deadly train crash, prosecutors said Thursday.

“Midnight Rider” director Randall Miller, his wife and business partner, Jody Savin, and executive producer Jay Sedrish are scheduled to face trial March 9 on charges of involuntary manslaughter and trespassing. They had just begun shooting the film on Feb. 20, 2014, when a freight train plowed into the crew on a railroad bridge spanning the Altamaha River. Camera assistant Sarah Jones, 27, was killed and six others were injured.

A fourth filmmaker, assistant director Hillary Schwartz, was indicted on the same charges. But prosecutors have agreed to her request to be tried alone, District Attorney Jackie Johnson said.

Schwartz’s attorney, Austin Catts, was not in court and did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Attorneys for Schwartz filed a pretrial motion saying she wanted to call her three co-defendants as witnesses but would be unable to if they were all tried together. Criminal defendants have the right to refuse to testify at their own trials.

Investigators have said the filmmakers walked onto the railroad bridge to shoot a scene despite having been denied permission.

Involuntary manslaughter is a felony carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Production on “Midnight Rider,” based on the life of the Allman Brothers Band singer, was halted after the train collision.

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