The Jeep that rolled backwards and killed 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin was recalled because the shifting mechanism caused drivers to unintentionally leave it in the wrong gear.
TMZ broke the story ... the 'Star Trek' star was leaving his home sometime before 11 PM Saturday when he got out after clearing his security gate. The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee -- which was on a steep incline -- rolled backwards, pinning him against the gate. His friends found him dead at 1 AM.
The 2015 Cherokee models were recalled because of the e-shift transmission. It lacks the grooves found in old school transmissions that allow drivers to feel the various gears. According to the recall notice, the e-shift provides "poor tactile and visual feedback to the driver," which makes unintended gear selection more likely. Translation: A driver could put a car in neutral thinking it was in park.
The 2016 models reverted to an old school shifter.
So far no word on whether the shifting device contributed to the accident.
Yelchin died from blunt traumatic asphyxia.