Traumatic Asphyxia Caused Actor’s Death

Anton Yelchin, a 27-year-old actor, died a minute after his car accident. His death was caused by traumatic asphyxia. Traumatic asphyxia is caused by an intensive compression of the chest that causes venous backflow from the right side of the heart into the veins of the neck and the brain.

Yelchin is known for his roles in Hearts in Atlantis, the 2009 Star Trek reboot, the 2011 Fright Night remake, and Like Crazy. He was born in Russia. He immigrated to the United States when he was just six months old. He lived in Los Angeles, CA until his death on June 19th, 2016.

He was struck by his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee which was rolling downhill. It was believed that he stepped out of his car and left the engine running. The car pinned him to a brick pillar and security fence.

Although it appears he did not properly put his car in park, the same car had a design flaw. It is under investigation for its e-shift transmissions. The electronic transmission lacks the traditional feeling of grooves when shifting gears. This could cause problems with shifting gears and cause injuries. Hundreds of complaints have been filed for this flaw.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigators found that the vehicle’s feature “is not intuitive and provides poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver, increasing the potential for unintended gear selection.” The investigation reported 121 crashes and several hospitalizations.

Traumatic Asphyxia Grand Cherokee Anton Yelchin

Anton Yelchin’s Jeep Grand Cherokee struck him rolling downhill and had a design flaw. (Flickr / Creative Commons / 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit)

“NHTSA is in contact with local authorities and Fiat Chrysler to understand all of the facts related to this tragic crash, including whether or not this was caused by the current issue under recall,” the government organization said in a statement. “Last year, NHTSA initiated an investigation into the issue. Then, in April, FCA acknowledged the defect, and issued a recall at NHTSA’s urging. Until all of these recalled vehicles are fixed, owners should take extra care to make sure their car is in park and turned completely off before exiting.”


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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