Almost two years after the death of their son, actor Anton Yelchin, the Yelchins have reached a settlement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the car manufacturer they had sued for wrongful death. The Star Trek Beyond actor died on June 19, 2016, from traumatic asphyxia when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backwards down the actor’s driveway and pinned him between the gate of his house and the vehicle.
Shortly after the accident, the Yelchins’ attorney, Gary A. Dordick, said he believed the actor went back into his house to get something, and that he believed he had put his Grand Cherokee in park. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that the design of the gear shift affected a driver’s ability to tell what gear the vehicle was in. After the report came out in April 2016, Fiat Chrysler issued a voluntary recall even though it also issued a statement saying “no evidence of equipment failure was found.” After the 27-year-old actor’s death, a class-action lawsuit was filed by four plaintiffs that alleged there was an “unreasonable delay” in repairing the faulty gear shifts. It also alleged that it was impossible to confirm whether or not the car had actually been placed in park and that there was no safety override that “automatically puts the car in park if the driver’s door is open and there is no pressure on the foot brake, a common feature in other car models.”
Fiat Chrysler sent a notice to Yelchin in May 2016 letting him know that a repair for the gear shift was “currently under development.” A second notice was sent to Yelchin just a week after he died stating that there was now a “software fix” for the gear shifter.
The details of the settlement between the Yelchins and Fiat Chrysler have not been disclosed, but Yelchin’s publicist, Jennifer Allen, released a statement indicating that the settlement proceeds would go to the Anton Yelchin Foundation as well as cover the cost of filming a documentary about Yelchin’s life.
Fiat Chrysler released a statement confirming the settlement and saying an “amicable settlement” had been reached. It also once again offered condolences to the Yelchins for the tragic death of their son.
In October 2017, Yelchin was honored at a Celebration of Life at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. The event was to commemorate the actor with a sculpture and allow his friends and family to honor and celebrate his life and legacy. Fellow actor Zoe Saldana delivered a heartfelt speech about the impact Yelchin had and how his memory would be kept alive.
“It is a bitter sweet moment, because we’re here for Anton, and he’s not here with us. But, it alleviates my heart knowing that we’ll keep him alive. We’re going to keep remembering him in the hopes that by practicing all the things he believed in and remembering all the love that he gave us, and all the joy he gave us, we’re able to just keep him here with us.”
Yelchin’s final film, The Thoroughbreds, released earlier this month.