LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A guilty plea in the on-set death of an assistant camera operator on a Georgia film set must serve as a reminder to all filmmakers to make safety their number one priority, according to the Los Angeles-based Directors Guild of America.
The statement comes as director Randall Miller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and trespassing in the Feb. 20, 2014, death of Sarah Jones on the set of “Midnight Rider,” a film about rock star Gregg Allman.
“This tragic accident and its consequences must serve as an indelible remainder to everyone involved in film production that safety on set is of paramount importance,” according to a statement from the DGA. “In the year since Sarah Jones’ horrific death, the dialogue within the entertainment community about being vigilant on set and speaking up if something seems unsafe has certainly increased, and organizations including the DGA have reiterated the availability of 24/7 safety hotlines to report concerns.”
Jones, 27, was struck by a train while the crew was preparing to shoot a dream-sequence scene.
A judge ordered Miller to serve two years in jail, along with eight years probation and a fine.
Legal Analyst Royal Oakes told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the case is likely to have an impact on Hollywood film projects going forward.
“We can argue that maybe the prosecutors want to send a message to the Hollywood community, ‘you gotta follow the rules, get those permits’,” said Oakes. “There certainly is that speculation.”
The Directors Guild also acknowledged that much more work is needed to ensure the safety of all film and television actors.
“The DGA will continue to address these issues with the employers, because no shot is worth the risk to anyone’s safety,” according to the guild.
(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)