Fiat Chrysler Will Investigate Anton Yelchin's Fatal Jeep Crash

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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fiat chrysler will investigate anton yelchin s fatal jeep crash

Less than two days after Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin died in a bizarre vehicle crash in his Los Angeles driveway, the maker of his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee says it will investigate the incident.

Yelchin, 27, was found crushed between his SUV and a brick gatepost two nights ago. The vehicle, which was found in neutral with the engine still running, apparently rolled backwards down the steep driveway and hit him.

Police reports identified his Grand Cherokee as one of the models recalled due to its confusing Monostable shift lever, with Reuters now reporting that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles promises to conduct a “thorough investigation.”

The Monostable shift level was used in three models equipped with FCA’s eight-speed automatic transmission. In April, FCA voluntarily recalled 1.1 million vehicles to correct the issue, which caused some drivers to think their vehicle was in “park” when it was actually still in gear, or neutral.

Unlike conventional automatic transmission shift levers, the Monostable shift knob returns to the same central spot after gear changes. This provides little visual indication of what gear the vehicle is actually in.

In response to questions swirling around the circumstances that led to Yelchin’s death, the automaker issued a statement saying, “It is premature to speculate on its cause at this time.”

When the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration investigated owner complaints last summer, it logged 41 injuries related to vehicles rolling away from their owners, but no deaths. At least 700 roll-away incidents are linked to the shifters. Models affected are certain 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300s, and 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees.

It isn’t known whether Yelchin’s vehicle was serviced after the recall was issued.

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  • Jmp2006 Jmp2006 on Jun 21, 2016

    I understand that I'll probably be in the minority on this, but I don't see the big deal with this new shifter design. Yes, I can see how it can cause an issue, but I don't understand why there is such an uproar from people who purchased these vehicles in the first place. If you bought a car with this shifter: - Did you not test drive the car before you bought it? - Did you not notice the difference in the shifter operation? - If so, why did you dismiss it and bought the car anyway? In my opinion, again probably in the minority here, it's your responsibility to learn how to operate the vehicles that YOU purchased/own. It's tragic that it may have cost a young man his life, but ultimately, it was his responsibility to operate HIS vehicle properly.

    • See 2 previous
    • Hubcap Hubcap on Jun 21, 2016

      @jmp2006 "At some point you have to take responsibility and go “oh, hey, this is a little bit different, I need to pay attention to that.”" Yes sometimes. But other times it's a bad design that introduces a bit of confusion. I don't know what case this shifter is. Probably some of both. But you're asking someone to pay attention to something that previously required little effort. Actions and expectations become ingrained and must be accounted for. I come form an aviation background and have seen similar occurrences with various corrections applied. Some as simple as an additional placard or more training. Others that had to rethink the way the system was implemented. As an example think of a pilot whose is used to performing a specific action when seeing a certain light. A change comes down and now, after performing that action hundreds or even thousands of times, the required action is changed. This has the potential to be a problem and yes, you do need to pay attention to it and yes, so do those who designed it to function in a particular way. I know this is a simple and contrived example but it has real life echoes.

  • PandaBear PandaBear on Jun 21, 2016

    Sorry that this young man died. This is the reason we shouldn't trust a car not in parking brake and in parked gear / speed / shift and with engine off at the same time. At least the car will alarm you when you open the door with it not in park for safety reason.

  • MaintenanceCosts So there is no Sonata trim without some type of Theta engine.It seems like they've been doing a bit better when attached to a hybrid system, so that's probably the one to get, but they're going to have to go several years without further engine troubles before I'd trust a H/K ICE product again.
  • Lou_BC Full sized sort of autonomous RC's. Cute.
  • Art_Vandelay Autonomous capabilities are being deployed (or planned anyway) in multiple combat vehicles. Should be fun from my perspective
  • Drew8MR Interior is trivial now you can get repro everything in various levels of quality. Getting the top sorted will be a couple grand, but I'd drive it as it. I drove a $1500 67 GTO convertible for 20 years, not every old car needs to be like new.
  • John Not everyone pays that much for power. Mine is 10 cents per kw…..