Actor Anton Yelchin, known mostly for his role as Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot series, was tragically killed over the weekend after his car rolled down his driveway and pinned him against a brick pillar.
The circumstances surrounding Yelchin’s death were at first confusing, but it’s now surfaced that Yelchin’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee may be partly to blame, according to Autoblog.
The 2015 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee was recalled in April due to a rollaway risk. The shifter does not provide physical feedback when selecting a gear, which caused some drivers to think they had put the vehicle in park when in reality they hadn’t. FCA said the issue was linked to at least 41 injuries.
At the time of the voluntary recall, FCA said that the issue was not linked to faulty equipment, but rather driver error. The vehicle warns occupants if the door is opened and the vehicle is not in park, however FCA acknowledged this may not have been an adequate solution. The software was updated to better warn drivers of such a scenario following the recall and the shifter design has been changed for 2016 model year Grand Cherokees.
Autoblog reached out to FCA for comment on the matter, with the automaker confirming they had sent instructions to customers on how to properly operate the shifter.
“Regarding the recall, I can confirm notices were mailed to affected customers,” a company spokesperson said. “Included in those notices were tip sheets describing proper operation of the shifter. This supplemental information echoes the instructions in the owner’s manual.”
Los Angeles Police confirmed Yelchin’s death “was an accident,” and was caused by “blunt traumatic asphyxia.” The LAPD also said it appeared the actor had not properly put his car in park mode, but have so far not established any official connection between the e-shifter and the fatal accident.