Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says it will investigate the cause of the bizarre Jeep crash that killed Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin on June 19.
The defect is in the vehicle’s Monostable shifter, which allows the driver to shift through all gear selections by pushing or pulling the drive-selector lever forward or backward from its neutral position.
The shifter itself may well be mechanically sound, but reports have surfaced indicating that the specific design of this shifter is regularly causing driver confusion, and is thus defective in that respect.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said it’s received notifications regarding 121 crashes involving FCA vehicles equipped with the Monostable shifter rolling away, striking buildings, drivers or other cars.
Yelchin’s body was found by friends around 1:00 am early Sunday pinned against the front security gate-post of his South California home by his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee–it’s possible that use of the Monostable shifter contributed to or caused the crash.
“FCA US extends its most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Yelchin,” the automaker said in a release.
“The company is in contact with the authorities and is conducting a thorough investigation. It is premature to speculate on the cause of this tragedy.”