Anton Yelchin’s Parents Sue Fiat Chrysler Over Actor’s Death
Parents of the late actor Anton Yelchin have filed a wrongful death and product liability lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler, the company that created the Jeep Grand Cherokee that led to the Star Trek actor’s untimely death.
“It’s against nature when parents bury their own child,” said father Victor Yelchin at a news conference via the Los Angeles Times. “That’s why we hope this lawsuit will make other families never go through the same hell we are going through right now.”
Anton died in his driveway on June 19, when his car pinned him against a brick mailbox and security fence, according to a statement from LAPD spokesperson Jenny Hauser.
The Yelchins' lawsuit claims the gear selector in their son's car -- which was one of the 1.1 million recalled by the company, after several vehicles rolled away suddenly, causing dozens of injuries -- was defective.
“Anton Yelchin was crushed and lingered alive for some time, trapped and suffocating until his death,” their lawsuit reads.
Gary Dordick, an attorney representing the Yelchin family, alleged the gearshift was confusing to drivers, a claim that was corroborated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's recall report.
“Drivers erroneously concluding that their vehicle’s transmission in the park position may be struck by the vehicle and injured if they attempt to get out of the vehicle while the engine is running and the parking brake is not engaged,” the NHTSA's report said via TIME.
In other words, the car makes use of an electronic gearshift, which uses a button to change gears rather than a lever, and has led many drivers to mistakenly believe their car is in park when it isn’t.
Dordick -- who alleges the company was aware of the gearshift’s problems back in 2012 but still installed it in its 2014 and 2015 models -- also states a notice from Fiat about the gearshift arrived at Anton’s home seven days after his death.
The Yelchins are seeking punitive damages, but no specific amount has been named.
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