Anton Yelchin, the 27-year-old actor best known for roles in the latest Star Trek films, died Sunday after his car rolled down his driveway and crushed him against a brick wall.
According to TMZ, which first reported his death Sunday morning, in what’s being described as a “freak accident,” Yelchin was found at 1 a.m. pinned between his Jeep Grand Cherokee and a security gate’s brick pillar at his Los Angeles home. Authorities say the Jeep was found in neutral with the engine on when Yelchin’s body was discovered, believing it rolled from the top of his steep driveway.
Several outlets have raised the question whether Yelchin’s Grand Cherokee was one of the models involved in a recall announced in April by FCA, in which more than 1 million vehicles are being targeted for a fix for electronic shifters that don’t confidently engage Park every time – an issue which federal investigators believe is responsible for 41 injuries as the vehicles continue to roll even though driver’s think they’re securely in Park.
The Grand Cherokees affected were sold for the 2014 and 2015 model years, and as of now it has not been confirmed if the one involved in this incident was one of those (UPDATE: Los Angeles police has now confirmed it was a 2015 Grand Cherokee involved in this crash). But since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigators opened the case into FCA’s electronic shifters, more than 100 crashes have been tied to the Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300 and Dodge Chargers with the device. Of the injuries reported, some vehicles rolled over owners as they exited the vehicle believing it was in Park, according to Consumerist.
FCA’s fix, announced in April, was to alter the audible and visual warnings if a driver opens the door when the vehicle was in Neutral, as well as altering the transmission-shift strategy.
Few other details from the investigation into Yelchin’s death have been released, but the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office has preliminarily ruled out suspicious circumstances. Yelchin, who appeared in films such as Alpha Dog and Charlie Bartlett, also appears in Star Trek Beyond which is scheduled for release next month.
Photo: Paramount Pictures