Hollywood actor Anton Yelchin, perhaps most famous for his roles in the rebooted Star Trek movies, was killed in front of his home on June 19th, 2016 after his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee reportedly rolled away and pinned him against a brick post and a fence. Investigators believe it was a “freak accident” but that does not necessarily mean it was not preventable, as a problematic part in the vehicle could be to blame.
Just one month before the fatal accident, 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee owners were notified by Fiat Chrysler that many drivers were experiencing confusion when trying to put the vehicle in park. The gear selector was designed to pop back into an upright position after choosing a gear, even park, making it unclear whether or not the vehicle would stay in place once the driver stepped out. Although the details of the accident have not all been uncovered, this very same poorly-designed gear selector issue could be the reason why Mr. Yelchin was struck by his own vehicle that rolled backwards into him.
Fiat Chrysler has stated that it does intend to conduct its own investigation into the accident. Furthermore, once replacement parts become widely available, the company is planning to launch a large scale recall of all 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees to prevent similar accidents from occurring, assuming that the auto part can indeed be cited as the direct cause of the actor’s death.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) own research may indicate that the recall and warning are too little and too late. According to their findings, at least 117 crashes in America so far have been caused by the problematic gear selector. 28 serious injuries have been reported, including broken ribs and fractured pelvises.
For more information about this story, CNN Money has published a full article, which can be read by clicking here. If you or a loved one have been hurt by an auto part defect in your own 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, you can contact Morris, Cary, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC for legal assistance. With the representation of our Dothan injury attorneys, you may be able to sue for maximum compensation. Call 888.694.0174 for more information.