Jeep Cherokee Recall Linked to Death of ‘Star Trek’ Actor

Fiat Chrysler Automotive, the parent company of Jeep and Dodge, announced a recall of almost 100,000 Jeep Cherokees. The vehicle could lose power while driving, but also risks rolling while in park.

What Happened?

A transmission malfunction in certain Jeep Grand Cherokees can cause the vehicles to lose power or roll despite being in park. The gear teeth that switch between all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive may be defective.

In rare cases, they can cut power to the front wheels while the vehicle is in motion. If the gear teeth are completely broken, the vehicle may roll even if it is placed in park.

Fiat Chrysler admitted that at least one accident has happened because of this issue. However, there are no reported injuries. FCA advises drivers to always use the parking break in addition to putting the vehicle in park.

Recall Details

As of now, only Jeep Cherokees from 2014-2017 are involved in this recall. Furthermore, only those with a two-speed power transfer unit require repair. If you’re not sure whether your Jeep is part of this recall, you can contact FCA customer service at (800)-853-1403. Official notices will be sent out by the end of July.

You can also use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database to look up any outstanding recalls on your vehicle. It’s a good idea to do this once a quarter anyway, just in case you missed a notification. Recalls never expire, and they are always free when performed by your authorized dealership. Visit and entire the VIN (vehicle identification number) to see if your vehicle needs to be repaired.

Anton Yelchin Connection

This recall is similar to the issue that killed ‘Star Trek’ actor Anton Yelchin in 2016. He died when his Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled unexpectedly, pinning him against his mailbox when he got out of the vehicle. Yelchin’s family sued Fiat Chrysler and later settled out of court.

Although his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee was one of the million vehicles recalled due to a faulty gearshift design, the repair was not rolled out to dealerships until the week Yelchin was killed. His death highlighted the need for automakers to speed up recalls that present serious risks to drivers.

Although the two recalls do not stem from the same manufacturing defect, it might make drivers think twice about buying a Jeep. With two such serious issues in a relatively short time span, it speaks to larger engineering problems with Jeep.