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The Star Trek actor, who was just 27 years old, was found dead in the driveway of his home in the early hours of Sunday morning, after he failed to show up at an 11pm Saturday night rehearsal.
His worried friends visited his San Fernando Valley home around 1am to check on him – they discovered him pinned between his car and the security gate at the bottom of the driveway which is on a steep incline.
Read more: Anton Yelchin’s Star Trek co-stars and director JJ Abrams pay tribute to the actor after he dies aged 27
Now, according to website Gizmodo , there is speculation the accident may have happened due to a “design flaw” in certain Jeep models, manufactured by Italian company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, also known as FCA.
The star owned a Grand Cherokee design, and while it’s not been confirmed there was any fault in this particular design, some Jeeps were previously recalled in the US because they didn’t sound a warning when the driver got out when it was left in neutral, not park.
Read more : Anton Yelchin death scene photos show bent security gate where actor died in freak accident
According to the site, there was a voluntary recall in April this year, organised by Fiat Chrysler, on Jeep Grand Cherokees that were manufactured between July 16, 2012, and December 22, 2015.
A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report previously stated: “The affected vehicles … may not adequately warn the driver when driver’s door is opened and the vehicle is not in PARK, allowing them to exit the vehicle while the vehicle is still in gear.”
It added: “Drivers thinking that their vehicle’s transmission is in the PARK position may be struck by the vehicle and injured if they attempt to get out of the vehicle while the engine is running and the parking brake is not engaged.”
According to a report by NHTSA, the fault resulted in 212 crashes, 308 property damage claims and 41 injuries, Mail Online reports .
According to TMZ , Anton had just left home and had cleared the gate but then, for an unknown reason, got out of his car which he left in neutral.
Read more: All the latest updates and tributes after the actor is killed by his own car
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His 5,000 pound (2.5ton) Jeep Grand Cherokee then reportedly rolled backwards and pinned him against the gate with such force it bent the metal.
He was pronounced dead at the scene, although a coroner is still to determine whether he died instantly on impact.
A statement from his spokeswoman released on Sunday said: “Actor Anton Yelchin was killed in a fatal traffic collision early this morning. His family requests you respect their privacy at this time.”
Fiat Chrysler is yet to comment on the star’s death, but the the company previously released a statement of the reminder that it has sent owners of affected vehicles instructions on how to work the shifter.
A rep told motoring website jalopnik.com: “I can confirm notices were mailed to affected customers. Included in those notices were tip sheets describing proper operation of the shifter. This supplemental information echoes the instructions in the owner’s manual.”
Tributes have come pouring in for the actor since news of his tragic death broke.
His Star Trek co-star John Cho wrote: “I loved Anton Yelchin so much. He was a true artist – curious, beautiful, courageous. He was a great pal and a great son. I’m in ruins.”
And filmmaker Kevin Smith described the news as “so damn sad”.
While Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock, posted a picture of the actor and praised his enormous talent.
“Our dear friend. our comrade. our anton. one of the most open and intellectually curious people i have ever had the pleasure to know. so enormously talented and generous of heart.
“Wise beyond his years. and gone before his time. all love and strength to his family at this impossible time of grief.”
Star Trek director JJ Abrams also penned a heartfelt tribute.
“You were brilliant. You were kind. You were funny as hell, and supremely talented. And you weren’t here nearly long enough. Missing you… JJ.”
Mirror Celeb has contacted the FCA for a comment.