Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has been sued for wrongful death by the parents of 27-year-old Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin. Mr. Yelchin was killed in June 2016 by his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The vehicle rolled and crushed him in his driveway.
It is important to note that the recalled gear shifter may have been involved in the actor’s untimely death. Only God knows what the facts are at this point. The lawsuit will help sort through all the facts and find out what actually killed the young actor.
Bad Interface Design
Automotive experts at this juncture appear to believe that the gear shifter on the Jeep Grand Cherokee is a bad interface design. The problem, says theverge.com, is that the gear shifter’s “Monostable” design fails to provide meaningful feedback about what gear the vehicle is in, because it returns to the center position with each shift. To completely confirm the transmission is in drive or park or reverse, one must look at the LEDs on the shifter (often covered by one’s hand) or the digital display. Thousands of people have been confused by the gear shifter, leading to more than a hundred injuries, and perhaps a death – in the case of Mr. Yelchin.
Grand Cherokee Design Defect
Fiat Chrysler was aware of the defective design of the gear selector on Mr. Yelchin’s Grand Cherokee. That selector allows the driver to exit with the engine still running. The petition filed August 2, 2016 in Los Angeles state court says the problem is that the driver can mistakenly believe the transmission is in park mode.
Mr. Yelchin played Ensign Pavel Chekov in the recent “Star Trek” movies “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013) and “Star Trek Beyond” (2016). His Grand Cherokee rolled down his driveway at his Studio City, California home, pinning him against a fence.
Grand Cherokee Recall: One Million Vehicles
Fiat Chrysler recalled more than 1.1 million Grand Cherokees and big cars in April 2016. Drivers sometimes exited the vehicles without putting them in park. The company said then that it was aware of 41 injuries that could be related to the gear shift.
Fiat Chrysler said in a statement prior to the Los Angeles lawsuit filing: “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.”
Fiat Chrysler Lawsuit for Star Trek Actor’s Death
The case is Yelchin v. FCA US LLC, BC629096, Los Angeles County Superior Court.