Anton Yelchin Received Jeep Recall Notice 7 Days After His Death

Anton Yelchin
AGF s.r.l./REX/Shutterstock

A recall notice for a Jeep Grand Cherokee was mailed to actor Anton Yelchin seven days after he was killed in a freak roll away accident, his family’s attorney said Tuesday.

Yelchin’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against the vehicle’s manufacturer, Fiat Chrysler, as well as ZF North America, which manufactured the gear shift. Fiat Chrysler recalled more than 800,000 vehicles in April, after receiving hundreds of rollaway complaints.

“The safety recall was way too little and way too late,” attorney Gary Dordick said at a press conference in Beverly Hills. “They should have never used this device.”

The shifter in 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees operates like a joystick, returning to the same position no matter what gear the vehicle is in. Some drivers have become confused and exited the vehicle while it is still in gear, leading it to roll away. Yelchin died on June 19 when he was pinned by his vehicle against an entrance post at his Studio City home. The LAPD and Fiat Chrysler are still investigating the death, but it appears that it could be the first fatality related to the rollaway issue.

Yelchin’s parents, Viktor and Irina Yelchin, also appeared at the press conference and offered an emotional remembrance of their son.

“He was our only son,” Viktor Yelchin said. “It is against nature when a parent buries his own child.”

“He never cared about being a star,” Irina Yelchin said, wiping tears from her eyes. “He loved life very much… His death is gonna save some other life.”

Dordick alleged that Fiat Chrysler “put profits before safety.”

In a statement, Fiat Chrysler said it had yet to be served with the lawsuit and could not comment extensively about it.

“FCA US LLC extends its sympathies to the Yelchin family for their tragic loss,” the company said. “FCA US urges customers to follow the instructions in their owners manuals and the information cards sent with their recall notices. These instructions include advising customers to set the parking brakes in their vehicles before exiting.”

In its original statement on the accident, Fiat Chrysler noted that “the vehicles also deliver warning chimes and alert messages (‘Vehicle Not in Park’) if their driver-side doors are opened while their engines are still running and PARK is not engaged.”

Fiat Chrysler sent a notice in May that explained the issue and gave instructions on how to make sure the car is in park. The issue also affects the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger for model years 2012-2014. The May notice advised that Fiat Chrysler was still working on a repair for the shifter. Dordick said it was unclear whether Yelchin ever saw that notice, as it was not found in his effects after his death.

The June notice — which was sent after Yelchin’s death and begins “Dear ANTON YELCHIN” — advised that Chrysler dealers would update the gear shifter software to add an “Auto Park” feature.

As of late June, the NHTSA was aware of some 700 complaints regarding the issue, including 266 crashes and 68 injuries.

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  1. Nancy Zacherl says:

    I own a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. MANY TIMES I PUT IT IN PARK AND THE JOYSTICK JUMPED into gear and almost went in the pond or through a building. This is a defective gearshift. I returned the vehicle twice before the entire gear system was replaced. Certainly this was not his fault. I will never buy another Jeep and will probably not get value on a trade. There is no excuse and it was certainly a wrongful death .

  2. Pollychrome says:

    Thanks to the Sonsi, Tim, Truth, and other people of conscience who support Anton Yelchin, his parents, and all who’ve been hurt by defective 5000-pound deathtraps peddled by multinational behemoth Fiat Chrysler. How would the corporate defenders feel if, say, a child had been trapped by this ridiculous safety flaw?

    NHTSA announced OVER A YEAR AGO that FC had already admitted guilt and agreed to pay the highest-ever fine. Where was the follow-up?

    FC apparently cares so little that it has not yet even developed a repair.

  3. Alex Meyer says:

    How tragic for Anton Yelchin, his parents, his fans, and all of Hollywood.

  4. Wade bates says:

    This is bullcorn because when he parked in the little hill he did NOT PUT ON HIS EMERGENCY BRAKE!!!!! And that’s why it is fatal accident it’s not Fiat Chrysler Automobiles it Yelchin it’s his fault!!!!!!😡😡😡😡

    • I don’t know what product liability world you come from, but cars in park do not roll down hills. Not in this century anyway. They know they were at fault–and they planned for it as a cost of doing business. Don’t try to wipe out their liability just because he didn’t put on the parking brake. They aren’t even going to try to do that.

      • Mike says:

        It doesn’t matter. You ALWAYS put on the parking brake before stepping out of any vehicle. Just because a bad habit has become common, doesn’t make it acceptable.

        It’s true the automatic transmission was faulty, or at least not clear what mode it was in, and automatics all suck anyway, but he still should have put on the parking brake. What, the car rolls for a moment then gets caught by a pin going through the transmission, and you think that’s the way parking should be?

  5. Marie says:

    Shut up. Leave it up to idiots like you who feel the need to bring politics in every conversation.

  6. Nate says:

    I remember that after it happened, some jerk radio hosts in Israel (probably Eco 99 FM) were mocking his family and accusing the deceased of being “undisciplined.” It was the most revolting thing I can remember hearing, to dance on his grave like that.

    • Bill says:

      So how would you describe a situation where the death was directly caused by the owner not,operating their vehicle properly?

      Note the recall is not for something that fails on the vehicle but rather because owners are failing to I properly note via a dashboard indicator whether their car is in park and are also failing to apply the parking brake.

      Many modern transmissions, notably in BMWs and Mercedes vehicles and even the Toyota Prius work the exact same way, yet those vehicles are not being recalled.

      • Heartless “Cat”astrophe: according to the article he didn’t even get his notice until he was already dead–so yeah, Jeep gets blamed. If mfgs are not held accountable for their design errors than no one is protected. Hence product liability laws. If it wasn’t a problem we wouldn’t have laws to protect product users.

      • john says:

        I understand what youre saying, but the reason other manufacturers havent had this issue is because they have failsafes ie. BMW vehicles automatically shift into park when the engine is off or door is opened, Mercedes is the same. Fiat chrysler vehicles had no such failsafe, he probably did check thousands of times with no issue and this one time he missed it (and anyone that drives a manual can attest to forgetting the parking brake at least once)… and most cars with an automatic transmission do not need the parking brake on to hold the car unless there is a steep incline because the parking gear holds it.

      • Tim Addams says:

        Cat, you call Anton “the dead guy” and yet have the gall to call MY remarks abusive? Show me the abusive remarks, Cat. Are you monitoring my entries, Cat? That could be considered stalking. I don’t need your approval to post. Get that straight. You should be ashamed for calling Anton “the dead guy.” That’s cold, cruel, and callous. I’m not going to debate with you here or anywhere else. I just don’t care what you think. I respect the memory of Anton Yelchin too much to do that.

        Do some research on this case, Cat.

      • Cat Shannon says:

        Tim Addams,

        The instructions were in the manual, he was alerted to the problem by a notice. Jeep did what they were supposed to, and the dead guy did not. Instead of blaming Jeep, we should be instructing people to pay attention to recall notices and read their manuals. Cars kill people all the time, and we have to stay on top of things to minimize the risk of injury and death.

        You’re desire to shutter Jeep is silly, and one of the nicer of the similar abusive remarks I’ve seen you make about this same topic on other sites.

      • Tim Addams says:

        You miss the point completely, Bill. The company had received more than 700 complaints. The government ordered FC to issue a recall and fix the problem last August. The company apparently decided to delay that recall. If you do some research you will find reports that FC has a history of doing this with a number of recalls dating back to at least 2013.

        The Monostable gear shift is a defective design. THAT’s the reason for the recall. You don’t issue a recall bacause customers aren’t doing something right. That’s ludicrous. It has confused hundreds if not thousands of Jeep owners. You do NOT blame the victim here. FC must be held accountable for its action–or in this case inaction–involving the recall and the fix. I hope the Mr. and Mrs. Yelchin win BIG, maybe big enough with punitive damaged to sink the company. A life has been lost because of this.

  7. Nanny Mo says:

    Very sad. But the family should let it go and move forward with their lives.

    • Renee Rose says:

      If you lost a child, you would sue as well and not just “let it go”. FFS. how about walking up to Antons parents and telling them to let it go to their faces. Let’s see what happens. Lol

    • The Truth says:

      Why should the Yelchin family “let it go?” They’re moving forward with their lives by taking direct action against those who marketed a dangerous product without appropriate regard for their customers’ safety. Nearly 700 consumer complaints have been lodged, 266 accidents have occurred, and 68 injuries have been sustained. Get your head out of your ass, Nanny.

      • Renee Rose says:

        Exactly. This part malfunction was a big, big deal. They knew there was a horrific problem with this a year ago. No one can guarantee Anton received ANY notices and that is besides the point. I guarantee you, the parents will win this one.

      • S says:

        Tim Addams and The Truth, I echo your sentiments and I couldn’t have said it better. The victim-blaming and callous regard for a human life need to stop. Fiat-Chrysler should have taken a more expedient approach as soon as they realized there was an issue, and just because it’s not your life or the life of your loved one doesn’t mean this isn’t your problem–it’s everyone’s problem. Just recently in the past year or two, Toyota was also accountable for acceleration glitches that caused many deaths and injuries. Again, it’s not someone else’s problem–it affects us all. Also, it’s the right thing to do, c’mon!

      • Tim Addams says:

        I agree with you, The Truth.

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