One of the saddest celebrity car accident deaths was most certainly Anton Yelchin’s. On June 19, 2016, the 27-year-old Star Trek actor’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV rolled down his driveway and trapped him against a security gate, thereby killing him. Early in the morning, he was found pressed in between his brick mailbox and security fence. The headline-making story was dubbed a freak car accident. Subsequently, his family hired a car accident lawyer and sued Fiat Chrysler for wrongful death and product liability.
Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said Yelchin died of blunt traumatic asphyxia and likely died within a minute of the car accident. “Due to his injuries he most likely died within a minute or so,” a representative for the coroner said.
That night had been on his way to meet friends for a rehearsal, but didn’t show up. His pals became concerned after he didn’t show up and drove to his house, where they discovered his body.
After his death, many quickly noted that his car, the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, was part of a massive recall, in which 1.1 million of 2014 and 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees were recalled because the new electronic gearshift, or e-shift, made it difficult to put the car into park, drive or reverse.
The day after Yelchin’s death, Jeep released the statement: “FCA US extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Mr. Yelchin. The company will be conducting a thorough investigation of this tragic incident. It is premature to speculate on its cause at this time.”
In 2016, Yelchin’s parents Vickor and Irina Yelchin, famous pair figure skaters from the former Soviet Union, hired a car accident attorney and announced in an emotional news conference that they were suing Fiat Chrysler for wrongful death and product liability. Viktor said, “In spite of our unbelievable grief, we decided to come here to prevent other families from the same tragedy.”
In response, the automaker claimed that Yelchin’s “misuse” of the car led to his death.
In 2018, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which manufactures Jeep Grand Cherokee, settled with the Yelchins, however, the details of the settlement were not disclosed.
“Anton Yelchin was crushed and lingered alive for some time, trapped and suffocating until his death,” the lawsuit stated.
At the time of the settlement, Fiat Chrysler told the Associated Press in a statement that it is “pleased that we’ve reached an amicable resolution in this matter” and that the car company continues to “extend our deepest sympathies to the Yelchin family for their tragic loss.”
The family said that the settlement money, which they received with the help of a car accident attorney, will got to the Anton Yelchin Foundation and a documentary, called Love, Antosha, about their son’s life, which later came out in 2019.
Yelchin’s publicist, Jennifer Allen, said that, “The mission of the Foundation is to empower and support young people engaged in creative arts who face career challenges due to debilitating disease or disability.”
Like Viktor and Irina Yelchin did in California, if you or someone you know has had a car accident, contact an experienced auto accident lawyer Washington DC by calling Cohen and Cohen, P.C. at (202) 955-4529.