‘9-1-1’ Crew Member Dies in Car Accident After 14-Hour Overnight Shift

Fox via Getty Images
Fox via Getty Images

A crew member on 9-1-1 died early Saturday in a car accident along the California highway after working a 14-hour overnight shift.

Rico Priem, a 66-year-old grip, was identified as the crash victim, according to Variety, citing the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner. He was driving home from set when his Toyota Highlander swerved off the 57 Freeway, went up an embankment, and flipped onto its roof, according to the California Highway Patrol. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“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, the crew union that represented Priem, said in a 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.”

IATSE President Matt Loeb said that the union was “shocked and deeply saddened” by Priem’s loss, and that they were working to support his family and colleagues.

The studio that produces 9-1-1, 20th Television, added in its own statement to The Hollywood Reporter, “On behalf of the studio and everyone at 9-1-1, we send our sincere and deepest condolences to Rico Priem’s family and friends.”

Production on the Fox procedural had wrapped at 4:06 a.m. on Saturday, an IATSE official told Variety. The crash occurred roughly at 4:27 a.m. The official added that Priem had worked two 14-hour days in a row.

Another member of IATSE Local 80, Nina Moskol, memorialized Priem on Instagram, calling him an “extraordinary” best boy grip.

“I had just worked with him the Thursday night before,” she said. “He was on the cusp of retirement, with his paperwork filed. He had his already rich life planned for retirement, including spending time with his wife, watching his grand-nephew grow, riding his beloved Harley, and even gripping still to stay connected to his friends.”

She added that the two most dangerous parts of a crew member’s day were getting to work and going home. “Please stay safe out there. Grip safe. Drive safe. Get off the road if needed,” Moskol said. “Take the room.”

Priem had previously worked on a string of high-profile movie and television projects, including S.W.A.T., Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Star Trek, and Ghost World, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

Gruelingly lengthy shoots have long been an issue for IATSE, which was Monday in its third week of general negotiations with employers to secure a Basic Agreement.

Talks are expected to conclude later this week, with Loeb saying that the union was “constructively engaging” with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents Hollywood’s studios and streamers.

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