NTSB to Hold Forum on Railroad Trespassing After ‘Midnight Rider’ Guilty Pleas

The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday said that they would hold a forum on March 24-25 on the dangers of trespassing on railroad property, a day after remaining criminal charges were resolved in the “Midnight Rider” train accident that took place on Feb. 20, 2014.

The NTSB said in a statement that “while railroad tracks have long held a cultural resonance with Americans, featured in motion pictures, TV shows, music videos and photography, they are private property. And they can be a deadly place. In 2013, 476 people were killed and 432 were injured in trespassing accidents, according to preliminary data from the Federal Railroad Administration.”

The forum, “Trains and Trespassing: Ending Tragic Encounters,” will be chaired by NTSB Board Member Robert L. Sumwalt and will be held in Washington. The NTSB said that it will feature speakers who have been seriously injured in train accidents, and railroad employees whose trains have struck people on railroad property. It will look at current and future prevention strategies.

The NTSB and the Federal Railroad Administration have yet to release the results of their investigation into the “Midnight Rider” accident.

Camera assistant Sarah Jones was killed and eight others were injured when a train came down the tracks as the movie “Midnight Rider” was in production on a railroad trestle near Jesup, Ga. On Monday, director Randall Miller plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in an agreement reached with prosecutors in which he was sentenced to two years in jail and eight years of probation. As part of the agreement, the same charges were dropped against his wife, producer Jody Savin.

Executive producer Jay Sedrish also entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 10 years probation. First assistant director Hillary Schwartz was also sentenced to 10 years probation after a short hearing before Judge Anthony Harrison on Tuesday.

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