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Rico Priem, ‘9-1-1’ crew member, died of a heart attack, autopsy finds

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Rico Priem, '9-1-1' crew member, died of a heart attack, autopsy finds

A “9-1-1” crew member who died last month while driving home after a 14-hour workday was killed by a heart attack, not drowsy driving, according to an autopsy report.

Rico Priem, 66, was driving home around 4:30 a.m. when his SUV drifted off Highway 57, hit a tree, went up an embankment and overturned.

His death came during negotiations between the studios and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, touching on a sensitive issue in those discussions. The union has raised concerns that long working hours put workers at risk of falling asleep on the drive home, and has pushed for shorter days and longer rest breaks.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office released the autopsy report Variety on Tuesday. The report found that Priem died of a “sudden cardiac event” and that there were no fatal traumatic injuries.

The toxicology report was negative for alcohol or other drugs.

Priem worked on ‘9-1-1’, the ABC series, which ended on Saturday, May 11 at 4:06 am. He was on his way home about 20 minutes later when he crashed near Via Verde Drive in San Dimas.

Priem was a grip and member of Local 80, whose TV credits included “Major Crimes,” “Deadwood” and “Six Feet Under.” According to A., he was about to retire when he died GoFundMe which raised more than $60,000.

IATSE expressed his sadness after his death, and underlined his commitment to safety.

20th Television, which produces the show, also offered its condolences, as did the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which is negotiating on behalf of the studios.

The union contract states that if an employee is too tired to drive home, he or she can request a ride or a hotel stay, and the employer will attempt to provide that and will not retaliate against the employee for doing so the request.

In its discussions with the studios, the union has expressed concerns about ‘Friday’ – a shift that starts on Friday afternoon and runs until Saturday morning.