Belfast Telegraph

Crash filmmakers released on bond

Two filmmakers charged with manslaughter in connection with a train crash that killed a member of their movie crew have been allowed to return to California after turning themselves in at a Georgia jail for booking.

Don Samuel, an attorney representing Midnight Rider director Randall Miller and his wife, Jody Savin, said the couple reported to the Wayne County jail in south east Georgia on July 13. He said within 30 minutes they were freed on bonds of 25,000 dollars apiece.

Miller, Savin and executive producer Jay Sedrish were charged with manslaughter and criminal trespassing on July 3. They were filming a movie about singer Gregg Allman when a train ploughed into their crew on February 20. Camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed.

Wayne County sheriff's investigators have said the filmmakers had permission from forest-products company Rayonier to shoot on its property surrounding the train tracks, but did not have permission from CSX Railroad to be on the actual tracks.

Sedrish, who is also based in California, was still making arrangements to return to Georgia to turn himself in, said his attorney, John Ossick.

It could be a while before the three defendants appear in a Georgia courtroom. Miller and Savin will likely waive their right to appear before a judge for arraignment, Samuel said, and let their attorney handle their pleadings in writing instead.

"They're not going to fly back to court just to say 'not guilty'," Samuel said. "They are absolutely pleading not guilty."

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 the terms.

Miller previously directed the 2008 film Bottle Shock as well as Noble Son in 2007 and CBGB last year. He and Savin have their own independent production company, Unclaimed Freight Productions, based in Pasadena, California.

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