'9-1-1' Crew Member Rico Priem's Cause of Death Revealed Following His Post-Shift Car Crash

The office of the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner has revealed Rico Priem's cause of death.

The 9-1-1 crew member, whose given name is Richard, was headed home from a 14-hour location shoot in Pomona, Calif. back in May when his car "left the roadway for unknown reasons, went up an embankment and flipped onto its roof." Responders pronounced him deceased at the scene.

While there were suspicions that drowsiness caused by the long workday may have contributed to the crash, the medical examiner ultimately determined that Sudden Cardiac Dysfunction led to the crash and his death.

Unlike a heart attack, which is caused by a blockage in one of the heart's blood vessels, a sudden dysfunction happens when the heart's electrical system malfunctions, according to Apollo Hospitals. It leads to dangerous tachycardia—or too high of a heart rate—and ventricular fibrillation, causing a decrease in blood flow—and therefore oxygen—to the brain.

He also suffered from cardiomegaly with left ventricle hypertrophy—otherwise known as an enlarged heart with thickened walls in the left ventricle.

Following Priem's death, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees—the union to which Priem belonged—told The Hollywood Reporter that it was "fully committed to the safety and the well-being of all our members..." and that "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 statement concluded.

A subreddit dedicated to the union, which was in the middle of contract negotiations at the time, also promoted a documentary called Who Needs Sleep, which was inspired by the 1997 death of Brent Hershman, an assistant camera operator who perished in a car crash caused by the fatigue of his excessive work days.

While fatigue did not play a part in Priem's death after all, it certainly remains a concern for all those employed on film and television sets.

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