‘Midnight Rider’ Assistant Director Pleads Not Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter

Hillary Schwartz is the fourth person charged in the fatal on-set accident, with a tentative trial date set for March 9

Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones/Facebook

Hillary Schwartz, an assistant director on the film “Midnight Rider,” became the fourth filmmaker charged with crimes stemming from the on-set train accident that killed crew member Sarah Jones.

Schwartz pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing in Georgia’s Wayne County Superior Court. She was indicted earlier in September on the same charges brought in July against director Randall Miller; his wife and business partner, Jody Savin; and the movie’s executive producer, Jay Sedrish.

Also read: ‘Midnight Rider’ Producers Cited for Willful and Serious Safety Violations by OSHA

A tentative trial date of was set for March 9 for all four defendants. Production on “Midnight Rider” was halted after the crash on Feb. 20.

Jones was struck and killed by a train when the production placed a hospital bed on a Georgia railroad trestle bridge after two trains had already passed.

Also read: Sarah Jones’ Parents Respond to Criminal Charges Filed Against ‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers

Involuntary manslaughter is a felony carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison under Georgia law. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor punishable by no more than a year in prison.

CSX Transportation, which owns the tracks, said in court filings it twice denied the filmmakers’ requests to film on the train trestle, each time in writing. However, according to the Associate Press, Sheriff’s investigators have said the crew had permission to be on property surrounding the tracks that is owned by forest products company Rayonier.