Anton Yelchin’s Parents to File Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Fiat Chrysler

Anton Yelchin's Parents to File Wrongful
Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

The parents of actor Anton Yelchin will file a wrongful death lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler on Tuesday, their attorney announced.

The “Star Trek” actor was killed June 19 when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backwards down the driveway at his Studio City home and pinned him against a brick pillar. He was 27 years old.

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Yelchin’s vehicle was under recall, after Fiat Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration received numerous complaints about confusion caused by the gear shifter. Some drivers have exited the vehicle believing the vehicle was in park when in fact it was in neutral, leading to “rollaway” crashes. The NHTSA is aware of nearly 700 complaints about the issue, including 266 accidents, of which 68 involved injuries. Yelchin’s crash is still being investigated, but is believed to be the only fatality related to the issue.

Yelchin’s parents, Viktor and Irina Yelchin, will file suit against Fiat Chrysler as well as retail chain AutoNation and ZF North America, which manufactured the gear shifter. Yelchin’s attorney, Gary Dordick, is expected to announce the lawsuit at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

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  1. antierebus says:

    The shifter is an electronic shifter with one motion, a single press forward, to move it from drive into park, and only software controlled dash lights to indicate which gear its in. It really is bad, ambiguous, and very poorly designed for something with a high capacity to cause injury or death. I recommend people look up a video on why Chrylser’s recalled shifter is so bad and see it in motion before spouting off about someone being too stupid to use their car.

    • BillK says:

      Nonsense – it’s bad only in the sense that many car buyers absolutely refuse to read a flipping owner’s manual.

      This same type of transmission is present in BMWs and Mercedes yet there aren’t a ton of reports of those vehicles rolling away.

      Perhaps because purchasers of those vehicles read the manuals? Perhaps BMW and Mercedes dealers take more time to explain the transmissions at delivery? I couldn’t say.

      Only Chrysler vehicle owners seem to not be able to grasp that you need to take a separate action and check the dashboard to make sure the car is, in fact, in Park.

    • Thank you for explaining to us. The gear was in park. I was so surprised I saw it disengaged. 22 years ago.

  2. It happened to me back in 1994. My daughter was in the car with me. Luckily we lived on a steep mountain. Cherokee Jeep. The car backed in the hill. Scary.
    They sent a letter after the incident. They did fix it.
    Something is wrong that company. They knew about 22 years.

  3. Brian says:

    Mom and Dad lost their meal ticket, and now they want to get paid.

    • The Truth says:

      Brian, you are an ignorant douche.

    • The Truth says:

      Once again, BillUSA, you prove yourself to be a total dickhead. If awareness is truly your issue — rather than what a smugly superior “danger detector” you deem yourself to be — this lawsuit will garner more attention than any PSA. But driver diligence is not the issue. The gear shifter was defectively designed, as over 700 complaints demonstrate. That’s why the car was under recall. But apparently your super surveying skills don’t extend to dangerous products. This lawsuit is definitely warranted, your comments are extremely insensitive, and despite your caveat, you obviously have zero understanding of Yelchin’s parents’ grief.

      • CNU says:

        The Truth, while Brian is being an ass in his comment, your contention that this lawsuit is warranted is incorrect.
        My aunt has one of the Grand Cherokee’s with this particular shifter and has never had a problem. I’ve driven it a couple of dozen times at least and have never had a problem. Why? Because we take the time to check and make sure the select indicator is showing park if we’ve put it in park. There is nothing defective about the shifter, it’s simply has rather vague “notch” feel when changing gear, but there is an indicator on the dash console and on the shifter itself, and if they indicate park, the vehicle is in park. On time of that if you try to get out of the vehicle when it’s still in gear there is also a chime alert that sounds.
        The most damning thing the NHTSA said about it was it was “not intuitive”.

    • brucenconnie says:

      How sad that Brian thinks they only care about the money. There is nothing more painful than the loss of a child and you never get over it no matter how old they were. You must be young Brian.

  4. Steve says:

    this suit is worth millions, likely they will settle

  5. Zoe says:

    As they should. It was a wrongful death. I hope and pray that they win.

  6. eddie willers says:

    So sad for his loss, but hearing the car was under recall means I just mark it down as an accident.

  7. BillUSA says:

    Until I know more, it seems as if this is another “we’re gonna sue you because we’re too stupid” occurrence which will result in the manufacturer passing the cost off to the consumers.

    Look, it’s a shame he died and terrible the way it happened. I understand his parents’ grief and their obligation to defend their son when he can’t against any possible manufacturers’ negligence.

    But as someone who was always involved with improving safety conditions where ever I worked, my credo is to ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. Many times when I’m out with friends, family or dates I hear the question “what are you looking at/for?”. I always say that I’m just surveying the landscape for any possible dangers. I don’t do it out of fear per se, I do it out of concern for myself and those around me. I’ve been called paranoid, to which I respond with “call me paranoid next time something lands you in the hospital”. (Not that I’d want that to happen, of course.)

    Anton would be better served if some PSA were issued about due diligence with car safety.

    • BillIsADouche says:

      Hey look everybody it’s captain hindsight!

    • Greggan says:

      What an unbelievable stupid response. Of course, you’re too smart for something like that to happen to you. Congratulations!

      • The Truth says:

        Bill, the recall is based on “nearly 700 complaints about the issue, including 266 accidents, of which 68 involved injuries.” The shifter didn’t have to break to cause an accident; it’s an accident waiting to happen. If the car’s equipment had been safely designed in the first place, no recall would be necessary. But of course, as a self-styled expert on American drivers, you know otherwise.

      • Bill says:

        Had this particular recall been for a “this might break, causing an accident” recall, I might agree.

        However, it was because American drivers cannot be bothered to check wither the transmissions of their vehicles are actually in park or not, and never remember to set the parking brake.

        If Yelchin had done either or both of those things, this never would have happened.

  8. Patrick says:

    So the story goes, recall notices were sent to him. Anytime I hear about a recall, it’s off to the shop it’s that simple. A person killed recently was sent three recalls regarding the air bag system that got him one day. People are not perfect and products
    sometimes be not perfect. Good luck in the court of public opinion

    • Bill says:

      To be fair, the recall notice states that users will be informed when parts are available to perform the recall, and he had not yet been informed.

      However, look above to see what the actual recall concerned.

  9. Bill says:

    Things like this really annoy and irk me.

    He screwed up and didn’t have his car in park OR the parking brake set, but it’s Fiat Chrysler’s fault.

    It’s called knowing how your vehicle works before driving; perhaps too much to ask today.

    • The Truth says:

      Direct your self-righteous annoyance to automobile manufacturers who “screw up” by marketing dangerously designed products, What’s to be “too much to ask today” is for a car that isn’t recalled for one thing or another.

      • BillK says:

        It’s not at all dangerously designed.

        However ignorant drivers who can’t be bothered to read an owner’s manual end up doing careless things.

    • Mike White says:

      Its AutoNations fault.<<< sarcastic remark.

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