Yelchin’s family is filing a wrongful death suit against the maker of his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which crushed the actor in his driveway in June. The lawsuit seeks damages from Fiat Chrysler, ZF North America, and AutoNation.
The attorney for the family said in a press conference that Yelchin’s 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee suffered from a known electronic transmission shift defect. Yelchin’s family alleges that this defect resulted in the roll away incident that ended Yelchin’s life.
The suit is seeking punitive damages as Yelchin’s family believes Fiat Chrysler and ZF North America were aware of the dangerous defect but failed to take appropriate action. The family’s attorney claims automaker put “profits before safety.”
Fiat Chrysler issued a recall notice for the 2015 Grand Cherokee along with 1.1 million other cars and SUV’s. It flagged a problem with the vehicle’s gear selector which made it unclear to drivers whether the car was actually in park.
At least 117 crashes are linked to the defect, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nearly doubled the number of vehicles under investigation for the issue after finding evidence of more than 100 crashes and a dozen injuries involving Fiat Chrysler cars.
With the expansion, NHTSA is investigating more than 856,000 vehicles. These include model 2014-2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees, 2012-2014 Dodge Charger, and 2012-2014 Chrysler 300 sedans with 3.6-liter engines.