Grand Cherokee Responsible for Actor Anton Yelchin’s Death Was Being Recalled
2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee that rolled down on its own and killed 27-year old actor Anton Yelchin on Sunday morning was part of 1.1 million globally recalled vehicles. New gear shifters that Fiat Chrysler Corporation decided to go with turned out to be confusing to drivers. They toggle either forward or backward instead of moving along the track, with only light as an indicator for the selected gear. Furthermore, in order to shift from drive to park, one needed to push the shifter forward three times. Although recalled vehicles indicated a dashboard and beeping warning if the doors got opened while not in park, push-button start-stop still wouldn’t turn off the engine. That is the reason why vehicles could start rolling unexpectedly if not being in park, and if driver left the vehicle.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided to enforce a recall in April, and Fiat Chrysler started sending letters to vehicles’ owners on May 16, expecting to have the issue fixed by July or August. It’s still unclear whether Yelchin actually received or read his letter. In the meanwhile, investigators are trying to determine the position of his SUVs shift lever. NHTSA also stated they have had reports of 212 crashes, 41 injuries and 308 property damage claims possibly caused by the shifters since April.
Yelchin’s death, however, is the first such accident with fatal outcome recorded. He was pinned by his Grand Cherokee against a mailbox pillar and security fence at his home. His friends found him dead after he failed showing at an audition, later that morning. Official cause of death is accidental blunt traumatic asphyxia caused by the injuries sustained when his SUV hit and pinned him against the wall.
Anton Yelchin has had a promising career as an actor. He is mostly noted for his role of Pavel Chekov in two of Star Trek reboot film series. He’ll also appear posthumously in the third installment; Star Trek Beyond (2016). His tragic passing away comes as a shock to all of his family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and fans around the world. He’ll appear posthumously in four additional movies and one animated TV show “Trollhunters”. Farewell, navigator Chekov.