27-year old actor Anton Yelchin, best known for his latest role in Star Trek, recently died after the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee he was driving mysteriously reversed and pinned him to a brick wall surrounding his house. In April, Fiat Chrysler announced 1.1 million 2015 Jeep Cherokees like the one Yelchin was killed by would be recalled for complications with the vehicle’s electronic gear selector.
On the night of the accident, authorities believe Yelchin exited his vehicle at which point the car reversed and crushed him against the brick wall of his house. The young man was reportedly on his way to a rehearsal and when he did not show up his friends came looking for him.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urged the recall amidst the vehicle’s links to 41 injuries and hundreds of complaints. Drivers reported their Jeeps rolled away after exiting the vehicles, believing they were placed in park.
Unlike traditional gear selectors which shift forwards and backwards, the units in the 2015 Jeep that killed Yelchin operate electronically, sending a signal to the vehicle’s transmission and returning to a center rest position. This can make it confusing for drivers used to traditional gear selectors to tell right away whether the vehicle is in park, neutral, or reverse.
While the 2015 Jeep Cherokee owners did receive a notice from the auto maker altering them to the issues plaguing the vehicle, they did not receive any notice to bring the car in for repair. Fiat Chrysler told vehicle owners the company would come up with a solution to the vehicle’s problems after 2016.
Fortunately, Yelchin’s tragic passing is the only death associated with the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee under recall. However, hundreds of crashes and dozens of injuries are also associated with the vehicle. Injuries from the defective Jeep Grand Cherokees include crushed pelvises, broken ribs, ruptured bladder, bone fractures, and internal organ damage.
At The Cochran Firm, D.C., our defective vehicle attorneys believe manufacturers should be held responsible for their careless behavior in designing and manufacturing cars that place ordinary people at undue risk. Furthermore, when auto makers are aware of an issue with their vehicles, they should act as swiftly as possible to alert the public and remedy the danger.
If you or a loved one were hurt when you were struck by a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee after the vehicle was supposed to be in park, contact our office for a free legal consultation. The Cochran Firm, D.C. handles all manners of defective vehicle lawsuits and can help investigate the cause of your accident.