General News

Midnight Rider producers cited for serious safety violation by labor department officials

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Aug 14, 2014 | 4:59pm EDT

The producers of the stalled Allman Brothers biopic have been cited for a "serious safety violation" relating to the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones. Jones was struck and killed by a train while shooting a dream sequence for the film, titled Midnight Rider, on a trestle in Wayne County, Georgia in February (14). Prosecutors investigating the tragedy filed charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass against director/producer Randall Miller and producers Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish last month (Jul14), and now officials at the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) are holding Miller and Savin responsible for "one willful and one serious safety violation" stemming from the 27 year old's death. Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, says, "Employers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect workers' health and safety, and the entertainment industry is no exception. It is unacceptable that Film Allman LLC knowingly exposed their crew to moving trains while filming on a live track and railroad trestle." Eight other crew members were also injured in the incident, with many joining Jones' parents in taking civil action against filmmakers. OSHA authorities suggest Film Allman chiefs should be fined $74,900 (£44,059) for the violations, including exposing employees to "struck-by and fall hazards". Owners of the company, which is registered to the same address as Miller and his film partner and wife Savin's firm Unclaimed Freight Productions, have 15 business days to appeal the findings. News of the OSHA's findings emerge hours after Midnight Rider executives filed a legal complaint against their insurers at New York Marine, after they announced they will no longer honour their policy to cover incidents onset when filming resumes. Production on Midnight Rider, based on the memoir of Gregg Allman, has been on hold since Jones' death.

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