Film Allman LLC has formally been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones. The production company behind the making of Gregg Allman biopic "Midnight Rider" is cited with "one willful and one serious safety violation."
Jones was killed and several others were injured by a moving train that came barreling through them while they were installing equipment on active railroad tracks along a trestle over the Altamaha River in Wayne County, Georgia. The OSHA recommends a $74,900 fine, and the company is given 15 days to contest the findings.
The "willful" citation notes the company's "failure to provide safety measures to protect employees from moving trains" with "intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health." Meanwhile, the "serious" citation is for exposing crew members to fall hazards.
"Employers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to protect workers' health and safety, and the entertainment industry is no exception," said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA. "It is unacceptable that Film Allman LLC knowingly exposed their crew to moving trains while filming on a live track and railroad trestle."
"Their failure to develop a safety plan to prevent such hazards, including obtaining permission from the rail owner to use the tracks for filming, led to the death of one crew member and injuries to eight other employees," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's Regional Administrator for the Southeast.
Director Randall Miller and his producer wife Jody Savin have pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass charges. They said, "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."
The movie is currently in limbo. Actor William Hurt, who was initially attached to portray The Allman Brothers Band member, left the project. Earlier this week, Film Allman LCC sued New York Marine accusing the insurance company of failing their obligation of paying for the production's $1.6 million losses following the tragic accident.