Director of rocker Gregg Allman biopic pleads guilty in train-crash death

ATLANTA (Reuters) - The director of a film about rock singer Gregg Allman pleaded guilty on Monday to involuntary manslaughter and trespassing charges stemming from a deadly train crash on the movie's set in Georgia, according to a Georgia county court clerk's office.

Midnight Rider director Randall Miller agreed to a plea deal in which he was sentenced to two years in county jail and eight years of probation, as well as a US$20,000 (S$27,625) fine.

All charges against Jody Savin, Miller's wife and business partner, were dropped.

Executive producer Jay Sedrish also pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and trespassing, and was sentenced to 10 years' probation, said a spokesman for the Wayne County court clerk.

Miller, Savin and Sedrish were indicted on involuntary manslaughter and trespassing charges in the February 2014 death of camera assistant Sarah Jones, 27, of Atlanta, during the filming of the biopic.

The plea deal came as the three film-makers were due to stand trial this week on the criminal charges. Each faced up to 11 years in prison if convicted.

Jones was killed when a train hit props and movie equipment staged on a railroad bridge and trestle.

Six other crew members were injured in the incident in rural Wayne County about 70 miles southwest of Savannah.

"There were no winners in court this morning," Richard and Elizabeth Jones, the parents of Sarah Jones, said in a statement. "Our daughter is gone and there is tremendous loss for all involved... But, to be clear, we are not now, and never have been, seeking revenge for Sarah's death."

Unclaimed Freight Productions, the production company, did not have permission to film on the tracks, authorities have said.

A fourth defendant in the case, first assistant director Hillary Schwartz, is scheduled to be tried separately.

Allman was not named in the criminal case. He was dropped from a civil lawsuit in which Jones' family is seeking unspecified financial damages from the people and movie companies involved in the film project.

Midnight Rider was to have starred William Hurt but filming was suspended after the accident and never resumed.