The late Sarah Jones’ parents Richard and Elizabeth Jones emerged from court today saying that they were content with Midnight Rider director Randall Miller guilty plea. This morning they sat and watched Miller plead out as he sat sullenly next to his wife Jody Savin (the film’s producer) before being led out of court without handcuffs and immediately taken to the jail to be booked.
Afterwards, Sarah’s father, Richard Jones, told reporters that he and his wife Elizabeth were satisfied with the plea agreement. “No one won anything today,” he said. “It’s just a great deal of loss for everyone involved.” Asked if he was happy with the result, he said: “I hesitate to use the word ‘happy.’ We are content with the terms of the agreement.” He also said that he hopes that Sarah’s death will not be in vain and that “the sacrifice of our daughter will change the industry for the better.”
Sarah Jones, 27, was killed on a Doctortown train trestle and several others were injured last year when Miller and his team of supervisors failed to alert their own crew that they had no permission to be on the tracks. Neither did they have a safety meeting about shooting on train tracks and, in fact, purposely left it off the call sheet. There was also no medic on the set.
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Sarah Jones’ death and the injury of several others on the trestle instantly sparked cries across the industry for set safety and launched a movement in Hollywood. Almost immediately, social media erupted with comments from the production ranks against Miller and his team for violating set safety. Out of social media arose Slates for Sarah with crews around the country and celebrities such as Dustin Hoffman remembering Sarah Jones. A group called Spirit Of Sarah then gave a name to the first shot of the day “the Jonesy” and that is being used on film sets around the country right now.
The Local 600 (the International Cinematographers Guild) last year launched their own “ICG Safety” app to help members anonymously report unsafe working conditions on film and TV sets. Jones was an ICG member. In addition, a “Set Safety” app was released last year by a group of anonymous industry professionals. Both provide an anonymous way to report concerns.
Following the lead of their local 600, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) said a year after Jones’ death that they were looking into the creation of an industry-wide safety hotline for their members. Although, members are still waiting to see what they will do.
Jones’ parents also launched a website called www.SafetyforSarah.com to bring attention to safety issues across the entertainment industry. Also, a mobile safety app was launched by another group.
Sarah’s father Richard Jones said that his family created their website “to get the message out and sustain the message so the issue of safety on the set will not be forgotten. While Sarah’s death seems to have made some impact on the industry, we want that to continue so that others can be safe while they work.”
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