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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