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Gear lever to blame in death of Anton Yelchin?

A recalled gear lever might have caused the death of Anton Yelchin.

A faulty gear lever may be to blame for the death of actor Anton Yelchin, a new report finds. The "Star Trek” actor was killed over the weekend when his vehicle rolled down his driveway and pinned him against a brick mailbox pillar.

According to police, it appeared as though Yelchin exited his vehicle before properly putting it in park. The vehicle then rolled down an incline and trapped Yelchin against a brick pillar. Yelchin's car was still running when his body was discovered.

CBS News has learned that the vehicle that killed Yeltsin was a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was recalled in April by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration because the vehicle "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.” The NHTSA further warned that "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 the NHTSA, the faulty gear lever — which returns to center after selecting a gear rather than staying in a fixed position — has caused at least 117 accidents and 28 injuries, some of which were serious. The NHTSA has not, however, linked any deaths to the Grand Cherokee's gear lever design.

Investigators have not yet named the gear lever as a factor in Yelchin's death. It could be several days, or even week,s before police get to the bottom of the exact circumstances that claimed the life of the promising young actor.

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