The SUV that rolled down a driveway and killed Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was being recalled because the gear shifters have confused drivers, causing the vehicles to roll away unexpectedly, government records show. Yelchin, 27, a rising actor best known for playing Chekov in the rebooted series, died Sunday after his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee pinned him against a mailbox pillar and security fence at his home, Los Angeles police said. The 2015 model-year Grand Cherokees were part of a global recall of 1.1 million vehicles announced by automaker Fiat Chrysler in April, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records show. The agency urged the recall because of complaints from drivers who had trouble telling if they had put the automatic transmissions in park, the AP reports. If they were not in park and a driver left the vehicle, it could roll away.
Fiat Chrysler expected to send recall notification letters to owners on May 16, according to a memo to dealers, but it's not known whether Yelchin received or saw his letter. The company was working on a fix and expected to have a final remedy in October or later, the letter said. Investigators were looking into the position of Yelchin's gear shift at the time of the accident, Officer Jane Kim said. The actor had gotten out of the vehicle momentarily, but police didn't say why he was behind it when it started rolling. Fiat Chrysler said in a statement Monday that it was investigating and it was premature to speculate on the cause of the crash. The highway safety agency received 121 reports of crashes related to the gear shift problem, records show. Fiat Chrysler said in April that it's aware of 41 potentially related injuries. Click for more explanation of the gear shift issue.