(LOS ANGELES) — The Los Angeles Coroner’s Office confirms to ABC News that the death of Star Trek reboot series star Anton Yelchin was accidental, caused by “blunt traumatic asphyxia.”
A spokeswoman didn’t know if any toxicology or other tests would be performed on the 27-year-old actor, who was found dead early Sunday morning, pinned by his own 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee against a brick mailbox in the driveway of his Studio City, California home.
Meanwhile, there is some speculation whether a particular characteristic found in model year 2012 through 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokees could have contributed to the deadly accident. Jeep previously acknowledged that its electronic shifter design in those model years led many owners to mistakenly think their vehicles were in park, only to have the vehicles roll because they were actually in neutral. Whether that contributed to Yelchin’s death hasn’t been determined.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last August opened an investigation into the matter after receiving 14 complaints alleging the vehicle had rolled away after the driver thought they had shifted it into park. As of last April, Fiat Chrysler — which owns the Jeep brand — had received about 700 complaints about the issue, including 41 reports of resulting injuries.
In a statement, Fiat Chrysler says it’s launched its own investigation into the actor’s death. “FCA US extends its most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Yelchin,” the statement reads. “The Company is in contact with the authorities and is conducting a thorough investigation. It is premature to speculate on the cause of this tragedy.”
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