Parents of Star Trek Actor File Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Fiat Chrysler

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
parents of star trek actor file wrongful death lawsuit against fiat chrysler

The parents of Anton Yelchin filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in a Los Angeles court yesterday, alleging that the automaker knew about the defective gear shift design in their son’s Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Yelchin, the actor who played Chekov in the Star Trek film franchise, died in late June after his vehicle, equipped with FCA’s maligned Monostable shift lever, rolled down his driveway and pinned him against a gate post. The 2015 Grand Cherokee was found in neutral, with the engine running.

Yelchin’s vehicle was one of 1.1 million Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler products recalled by FCA in April to put a stop to roll-away complaints. A dealer document later revealed the automaker’s plan to install an “Auto Park” feature — basically, a reprogramming of four key control modules.

According to Bloomberg, the lawsuit alleges that FCA knew about the problems with the shift lever, which led some drivers to exit their vehicles after mistakenly believing the vehicle was in park.

The automaker responded to the lawsuit, stating, “FCA US LLC extends its sympathies to the Yelchin family for their tragic loss. The company has not been served with a lawsuit and cannot comment further at this time.”

FCA, which is also the subject of a class-action lawsuit, announced it would conduct a investigation into the incident following news reports of Yelchin’s death. The “Auto Park” fix was just rolling out at the time of the accident, and it’s believed Yelchin’s Jeep hadn’t undergone the repair.

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16 of 42 comments
  • FreedMike FreedMike on Aug 03, 2016

    OK, so the car appears to be blame...but wasn't there a recall on this? I'd be curious to see if Yelchin's car was fixed in that recall. I'm assuming it was, because otherwise the suit would be dismissed out of hand.

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    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Aug 04, 2016

      @EBFlex Probably stepped out to grab the mail or close the gate, vehicle didn't start rolling right away, and when it did start rolling, the driver didn't see it coming until it was too late.

  • EBFlex EBFlex on Aug 03, 2016

    Makes sense. Chrysler clearly made him negligently exit his vehicle before setting it and then Chrysler made him run into the path of his rolling vehicle (that he failed to secure). This is a frivolous lawsuit. Your kid died because he made a number of mistakes. Sad but true. Chrysler had nothing to do with it.

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    • VoGo VoGo on Aug 04, 2016

      @VoGo But Jeep didn't recall the shifter. Jeep is just a brand to con consumers into thinking that a Dutch-British import company is selling "American" vehicles. It appears to work.

  • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Aug 03, 2016

    Earwig made him do it. I mean the guy was a weapons officer. He should've known how to secure stuff.

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    • BobinPgh BobinPgh on Aug 05, 2016

      @roadscholar No, it was Chekov and another officer. But that was in the original "Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan" with Ricardo Montalban. I was disappointed with Star Trek Into Darkness because to me, only Ricardo Montalban can be Khan.

  • Jdmcomp Jdmcomp on Aug 04, 2016

    Very like the shifter in the new Mercedes and I do find it a puzzle but had no problems because I know how to drive, period. I think this was a result of someone not pay attention to the task at hand. Dont care for FCA designs but this is not that bad.