INVESTIGATING DEATH: Authorities are investigating the death of actor Anton Yelchin after he got killed by his Jeep Grand Cherokee. Image: AP / Richard Shotwell
Los Angeles - The SUV that killed "Star Trek" actor Anton Yelchin was being recalled because the gear shifters have confused drivers, causing the vehicles to roll away unexpectedly.
Los Angeles police say Yelchin died when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his driveway early Sunday (June 19 2016). The SUV pinned the 27-year-old against a brick mailbox pillar and a security fence.
Fiat Chrysler, which makes Jeeps, said in a statement Monday that it's investigating and it's premature to speculate on the cause of the crash. It offered sympathies to Yelchin's friends and family.
Most 2015 model year Grand Cherokees were part of a global recall of 1.1-million vehicles announced by Fiat Chrysler in April 2016.
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The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urged the recall amid complaints that drivers had trouble telling if they had put the automatic transmissions in park. If they weren't in park and a driver left the vehicle, it could roll away.
A Los Angeles coroner's official says Yelchin's death has been ruled an accident.
Coroner's spokesman Ed Winter says an autopsy performed Sunday determined the 27-year-old actor died of blunt force asphyxia - a condition arising when the body is deprived of oxygen, causing unconsciousness or death; suffocation.
Winter says any toxicology results will take months to analyse.
Los Angeles police are investigating Yelchin's death. Officer Jane Kim says the investigation will look into whether the actor's vehicle was in gear or in park at the time of the accident.