‘9-1-1’ Crew Member Rico Priem Killed in Early Morning Crash

A veteran crew member was killed early Saturday morning when his SUV left the freeway and flipped over, according to IATSE and the California Highway Patrol

Published Time: 14.05.2024 - 01:31:33 Modified Time: 14.05.2024 - 01:31:33

A veteran crew member was killed early Saturday morning when his SUV left the freeway and flipped over, according to IATSE and the California Highway Patrol.

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

Priem was heading north on the 57 Freeway at Via Verde Drive in San Dimas, when his Toyota Highlander left the road, went up an embankment, and flipped onto its roof, according to the CHP. The crash was reported at 4:27 a.m.

The SUV came to rest in the right lane on its roof. 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 member’s family, their fellow members and colleagues. Safety in all aspects of the work our members do is our highest priority and we will assist in any investigation in any way that we can.”

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

“On behalf of the studio and everyoneat 9-1-1, we send our sincere and deepest condolences to Rico Priem’s family and friends,” the studio said.

The production wrapped at 4:06 a.m., according to a union official.

IATSE has long raised concerns that long workdays put crew members at risk of falling asleep when they dr -

ive home. Brent Hershman, a camera operator, died in 1997 while driving home after a 19-hour day on “Pleasantville.”

Hershman’s death prompted calls for shorter workdays. In 2021, the union nearly went on strike over the issue, with particular focus on concerns about “Fraturdays” — late Friday shifts that run until 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, was working as a day player on “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 the well-being of all our members and express our heartfelt condolences to the member’s family,” IATSE said in its statement. “Workers have a reasonable expectation that they can get to work and come home safely. No one should be put in unsafe circumstances 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 its Basic Agreement, which are scheduled to conclude on Thursday. Once again, working hours are expected to be a topic of discussion.

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