*The SUV that rolled down a driveway and killed “Star Trek” actor Anton Yelchin was part of a global recall announced two months ago because the gear shifters confused drivers, causing the vehicles to roll away unexpectedly, government records show.
Yelchin, 27, died Sunday after his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against a mailbox pillar and security fence at his home, according to LAPD.
The 2015 model-year Grand Cherokees were part of a global recall of 1.1 million vehicles announced by automaker Fiat Chrysler in April, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records show.
The agency urged the recall because of complaints from drivers who had trouble telling if they had put the automatic transmissions in park. If they were not in park and a driver left the vehicle, it could roll away.
Fiat Chrysler expected to send recall notification letters to owners on May 16, according to a memo to dealers, but it’s not known whether Yelchin received or saw his letter. The company was working on a fix and expected to have a final remedy in October or later, the letter said.
Investigators were looking into the position of Yelchin’s gear shift at the time of the accident, Officer Jane Kim said. The actor had gotten out of the vehicle momentarily, but police didn’t say why he was behind it when it started rolling. Yelchin’s friends found him dead after he failed to show up for an audition early Sunday.
Fiat Chrysler said in a statement Monday that it was investigating and it was premature to speculate on the cause of the crash. It offered sympathies to Yelchin’s friends and family.
As of April, the company had reports of 212 crashes, 41 injuries and 308 property damage claims potentially caused by the shifters, it said in documents filed with the government.
Yelchin’s next film, “Star Trek Beyond,” premieres in July.