The fatal car crash involving Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin is one of the most popular—and heartbreaking—stories to flood the news today. But as investigations offer us more details into what may have happened, we also learn why open recalls should never be ignored and why automakers should do all in their power to protect their customers.
According to a series of news reports, Anton Yelchin’s body as found this past Sunday pinned between his vehicle and his house’s gate. The 27-year-old actor may have been the victim of an incident involving his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The car allegedly rolled backward down the steep driveway moments before pinning the actor down.
His vehicle, reports show, is the same model Fiat Chrysler recalled back in April. The model had been investigated for a transmission issue, prompting the automaker to launch the recall campaign.
According to local law enforcement, the fact the vehicle may have had an equipment issue may have caused this accident, but officials are still investigating.
According to the automaker, the 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees manufactured between June 16, 2012 and December 2, 2015 were recalled after the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated the vehicles over a transmission defect. We reported on this investigation back in February.
Since the vehicle’s gear-shift design makes it hard for uses to know which gear the vehicle is in, drives could conclude that their vehicle’s transmission is in the ‘Park’ position, when in fact, it’s in another gear. At the time, regulators concluded that this particular issue could cause bystanders to be struck by the vehicle in the case of a rollover. In a statement to the press, the company urged the public to stop speculating since it’s too early for law enforcement to confirm whether the involved vehicle had an open recall under its belt. It also reported that it would enhance warnings and other strategies on its transmission.
Police will learn whether this tragic incident occurred due to human or equipment failure with time. At this moment, we would like to offer the victim’s family our deepest condolences for their loss. May they have the support they require in this difficult time of grief.