21 Jun 2016

Fiat Chrysler probe after Star Trek actor killed by his car

11:02 am on 21 June 2016

Carmaker Fiat Chrysler says it will investigate after Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin was killed by his car - a model that had been recalled - at his home in Los Angeles.

Anton Yelchin pictured in Toronto in September 2015.

Anton Yelchin in September last year. Photo: AFP

The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backwards down the steep drive after he got out, pinning him against a fence.

In April, Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.1 million vehicles worldwide over the risk they could roll away after drivers exited, with the issue linked to 41 injuries, it said.

Fiat Chrysler, which owns Jeep, said it was extending its "deepest sympathies" to Yelchin's family and friends.

"The company will be conducting a thorough investigation of this tragic incident. It is premature to speculate on its cause at this time," it said in a statement.

Los Angeles police told CBS News that it appeared Yelchin had not properly put the car in park mode.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had found there was a safety risk if drivers got out of some Fiat Chrysler models without first putting them in park mode, Fiat Chrysler said in April.

The company had told owners it hoped to come up with a "permanent" remedy later this year.

Police investigators have not established any connection between the transmission in Yelchin's Jeep and the incident that took his life.

An autopsy performed on Sunday determined the 27-year-old died of blunt force asphyxia, the coroner's office said.

Yelchin was best known for playing Chekov in the new Star Trek films.

Yelchin was best known for playing Chekov in the new Star Trek films. Photo: AFP / Paramount / Bad Robot / The Kobal Collection

Yelchin was best known for playing Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek films released in 2009 and 2013. He reprised the role in a third film, Star Trek Beyond, which is due for release next month.

An only child, Yelchin was born to professional figure skaters in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) in Russia, who moved to the US when he was still a baby.

His first screen role was in US drama ER in 2000 and appeared in more than a dozen TV series and films before his break out role in 2006's Alpha Dog.

Among his other big screen credits were Charlie Bartlett (2007), Terminator Salvation (2009), Fright Night (2011), Odd Thomas (2013) and horror Green Room, released last year.

The Guardian's film critic Peter Bradshaw wrote an appreciation of the actor saying: "A hugely popular and well-liked actor of enormous talent and potential has been snuffed out. What a waste."

According to IMDB, he had four other film projects due for release - sci-fi Rememory, dramas: We Don't Belong Here and Porto, and thriller Thoroughbred.

-BBC

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