UPDATE, 3:15 PM: Midnight Rider first assistant director Hillary Schwartz’s lawyers have reached a settlement agreement with the Wayne County (GA) District Attorney and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for 10 AM ET tomorrow. No further information was made known.
Schwartz was the fourth member of the film crew to be indicted on criminal trespassing and involuntary manslaughter charges after the death of Sarah Jones during the first day of production on the Gregg Allman biopic. The small crew was shooting on the train tracks in rural Georgia when a train struck them in February 2014.
The criminal trial was scheduled to begin jury selection today before the other indicted crew members — director Randall Miller, his wife and producer Jody Savin and executive producer/unit production manager — were part of a deal that saw Miller plead guilty and receive 10 years total with two years in jail and 8 years probation, Savin’s charges dismissed and Sedrish given probation. Schwartz last month was able to get her trial date severed from the others.
PREVIOUS, 11:34 AM: Hillary Schwartz, Midnight Rider‘s first assistant director who last month was able to get her trial date severed from that of her co-defendants in the criminal trespassing and involuntary manslaughter case in the death of Sarah Jones, is expected to make a plea in Wayne County Superior Court as early as tomorrow morning. Schwartz’s lawyer was not available for comment and the District Attorney’s office trying the case confirmed that they were trying to schedule it for tomorrow but would not comment further.
Last month, Schwartz sought to have the charges against her dismissed, but her pre-trial hearing on that motion was continued. She was expected to be a witness in her co-defendants trial which was to begin this morning before director Randall Miller, his wife/producer Jody Savin, and their exec producer/unit production manager pled out this morning. Miller admitted guilt while charges were dismissed on Savin and Sedrish was put on probation.
Schwartz was charged on September 10th of last year. In trying to get the charges dismissed, her lawyers claimed prosecutorial misconduct, saying that their client believed she had an agreement for immunity in exchange for her interview after the accident. Not so, said the District Attorney on the case. Last month, Judge Anthony Harrison agreed to continue the motion.
Jones was killed and eight others injured when the crew set up to shoot a scene on a train trestle without a permit and placed a metal bed on live tracks to film a dream sequence with star William Hurt. While filming, a train came barreling down the tracks, surprising the crew who had to run for their lives off the set or cling to the side of the bridge in an effort to survive. There was only enough room for the crew to run single file down the side plank of the bridge before the train struck the bed, sending shrapnel into crew members and killing Jones.