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‘9-1-1’ Crew Member Rico Priem’s Cause of Death Revealed After Car Accident

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Rico Priem, a 9-1-1 crew member who died in a car accident last month, was killed by a heart attack.

An autopsy report from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s office, obtained by Variety, confirmed the 66-year-old’s cause of death on Tuesday, June 18.

Priem, who had worked a 14-hour shift on set of the ABC series just prior to the incident, died on May 11 when his Toyota Highlander left a Los Angeles freeway and flipped onto the roof.

The autopsy report determined that Priem died of a “sudden cardiac dysfunction,” and that there were “no fatal traumatic injuries.”

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Additionally, a toxicology report came back negative for alcohol or other drugs.

Us Weekly has reached out to the Examiner’s office for further comment.

The outlet also reported that Priem, a grip and crew member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 80, was driving home at around 4:30 a.m. after his shift ended at 4:06 a.m.

He traveled for 20 minutes until his SUV “drifted off the 57 freeway, hit a tree, went up an embankment, and flipped over.”

Priem was pronounced dead at the scene and his identity was released by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner. His death was also confirmed by IATSE.

The organization released a statement in light of the tragedy.

“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,” the statement read. “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.”

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Priem’s former colleagues, including Angela Bassett, continue to mourn him.

“The studio, 9-1-1, we all extend our deepest condolences to his friends to his family,” Bassett, 65, told Entertainment Tonight in an interview published on May 14. “It was just a very, very sad moment. We’re all rocked by it, certainly.”

Bassett, who portrays Los Angeles Police Department patrol sergeant, Athena Grant-Nash, on the show, noted that during her time on the series, the cast and crew have experienced “births” and “weddings” together, but this is their first time dealing with loss.

The actress added that time was taken on set at 9-1-1, which has just wrapped its seventh season, to honor Priem and “so many beautiful words were spoken of him.”

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Priem’s fellow crew member, Nina Moskol, who also works as a grip on 9-1-1, also paid tribute to her friend.

“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,” Moskol wrote on May 12, per the Crew Stories Instagram account. “He was so jazzed about what he had learned about retiring, he wanted to teach the ins and outs of retirement at the local.”

Union members have long been outspoken about the length of production shifts, going on strike in 2021.

The union ultimately won a 54-hour weekend rest period, with the goal of curbing late Friday shifts that extend until Saturday morning. The union’s current contract is up on July 31.

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