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Wednesday 28 September 2016

Car that killed Star Trek actor had gear problems

Anton Yelchin. Photo: AP
Anton Yelchin. Photo: AP
A TV cameraman at the entrance to the star’s home, where the damaged gate can be seen

The vehicle that rolled down a drive and killed Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was being recalled because the gear shifts have confused drivers, causing the cars to roll away.

Yelchin (27), best-known for playing Pavel Chekov in the rebooted series, died on 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 Grand Cherokees were part of a global recall of 1.1 million vehicles announced by Fiat Chrysler in April.

Drivers had trouble telling if they had put the automatic transmissions in park. 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 is not known whether Yelchin received one.

Speculate

The company is working on a fix and expects to have a software update ready in July or August.

Investigators are looking into the position of Yelchin's gear stick at the time of the accident.

The actor had got out of the vehicle momentarily, but police did not say why he was behind it when it started rolling.

Fiat Chrysler said it is investigating, adding that it was premature to speculate.

Yelchin's death was the first that might be related to the recall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urged owners of the vehicles to make sure they are in park before exiting and to use the parking brake.

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