Sarah Jones was killed while working on the set of “Midnight Rider” in Georgia in 2014. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Several of the civil suit's defendants faced criminal charges as well. In March 2015, just as the trial was about to get underway, "Midnight Rider" director Randall Miller reached a plea deal that absolved his wife and business partner, Jody Savin.
In pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing, Miller received a sentence of two yeas in jail and eight on probation, in addition to a $20,000 fine. He was released in March 2016.
Executive producer Jay Sedrish also pleaded guilty and got 10 years on probation. The day after Miller's plea agreement was announced, Wayne County District Attorney Jackie Johnson announced another guilty plea in the case: first assistant director Hillary Schwartz was found guilty after a bench trial before Superior Court Judge Anthony Harrison, and was sentenced to 10 years probation, and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s report, released in March 2015, detailed the numerous safety lapses that preceded the fatal wreck.
Jones’ parents settled their lawsuit. A statement issued on their behalf at the time said a confidential agreement had been reached between them and Unclaimed Freight Productions, Inc.; Randall Miller; Jody Savin; Charles Baxter; Jay Sedrish; Jay Sedrish, Inc.; Don Mandrik; Hillary Schwartz; Mike Ozier; Epozier Films, Inc.; and Rayonier Performance Fibers, LLC.
Jones’ untimely death spurred an industrywide call for change. A grass-roots “Slates for Sarah” campaign honored her by placing her name on movie and television production slates on projects, and she was recognized as part of the “In Memoriam” segment of the 2014 Academy Awards.