‘9-1-1’ crew member Rico Priem died in early morning crash

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According to IATSE and the California Highway Patrol, a veteran crew member was killed early Saturday morning when his SUV left the highway and rolled over.

Rico Priem, 66, was driving home after a 14-hour day on the set of the ABC series “9-1-1” when the accident occurred, his union said.

Priem was driving north on Highway 57 at Via Verde Drive in San Dimas when his Toyota Highlander left the road, went up an embankment and landed on its roof, the CHP said. The crash was reported at 4:27 am

The SUV came to rest on its roof in the right lane. Priem was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity was released by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner.

“Everyone in the IA family is shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic loss,” Matt Loeb, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, said in a statement. “We are working to support our members’ families, their fellow members and colleagues. Safety in all aspects of the work our members do is our top priority and we will assist in any way we can with any investigation.”

20th Television, which produces “9-1-1,” also offered its condolences.

“On behalf of the studio and everyone at 9-1-1, we extend our sincere and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Rico Priem,” the studio said.

Production ended at 4:06 a.m., according to a union official.

IATSE has long been concerned that long working hours put crew members at risk of falling asleep while driving home. Brent Hershman, a cameraman, died in 1997 while driving home after a 19-hour day in “Pleasantville.”

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Hershman’s death led to calls for shorter workdays. In 2021, the union nearly went on strike over the issue, with a particular focus on concerns about “Friday” – late Friday shifts that run into early Saturday morning.

The union won a 54-hour weekend rest period in that contract, which was intended to curb Fraturday schedules.

Priem, a member of Local 80, worked as a day player at ‘9-1-1’ and had worked two 14-hour days in a row, according to the union official.

“We are fully committed to the safety and well-being of all our members and extend our sincere condolences to the member’s family,” IATSE said in a statement. “Employees have a reasonable expectation that they can go to work and come home safely. No one should be placed in unsafe conditions while trying to earn a living.”

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the CHP.

IATSE is in the third week of negotiations on the basic agreement, which is expected to be concluded on Thursday. It is expected that working hours will again be a topic of discussion.

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