Trial of Midnight Rider: Railroaded in the Deep South

Posted by on Mar 22, 2017 in Articles, Blog, News | Comments Off on Trial of Midnight Rider: Railroaded in the Deep South

In the history of filmmaking, there have been many deaths on set. But not a single film director has ever been held accountable and jailed.

Until now.

That’s how the documentary begins. You may remember the incident. It happened on February 20, 2014, on a railway trestle way down in Wayne County, South Georgia, USA. A train ploughed into a film crew shooting a scene on railroad tracks  for a biopic about Greg Allman of the iconic band the Allman Brothers. Sarah Jones, a
27
-year-old camera assistant, was struck and killed by the locomotive. The film’s director, Randall Miller, was subsequently charged with criminal trespass and involuntary manslaughter. He took a plea and was jailed for two years, reduced to one year for good behaviour. The prosecution claimed that Miller knew the crew had been denied permission from the railroad to be on the racks, and that he had set the shoot up there anyway and “stole the shot.” But is that what really happened?

I met Miller a number of years ago when his wife, writer producer Jody Savin, enquired about obtaining a film option on my

Cold War book, THE ZERO OPTION. Miller didn’t seem to me to be the reckless type. He made friendly family movies and was himself the big gentle bear type. So I started to look into the evidence piled up against him. Over six months of filming, 75 interviews and many depositions later, the TRIAL OF MIDNIGHT RIDER: RAILROADED IN THE DEEP SOUTH is the result. Was Miller guilty or innocent? Would Ms Jones be alive today but for his actions? You’ll have to wait to see the documentary, but it will likely be considered controversial. It will be released late in January, the trailer available after release.