Sadly, car accidents and celebrities have a long, tragic history. As PROOF has reported previously, James Dean’s fatal car crash is one of the most well-known examples. Unfortunately, 2016 had its share of celebrities involved in car accidents. Here are two of the most heartbreaking:
By far one of the saddest pieces of celebrity legal news stemmed from the June 2016 accident involving actor Anton Yelchin. Yelchin had recently starred as Chekov in Star Trek Beyond, a character he had played in previous Star Trek films and was enjoying a very successful career. The day of the accident, June 19, 2016, Yelchin had just backed into his driveway and exited his Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Jeep rolled backwards and pinned Yelchin against the brick pillar of his entry gate. He died from the impact. He was only 27 years old. Yelchin’s parents filed a wrongful death suit against Fiat Chrysler, the Jeep’s manufacturer. Fiat Chrysler has counterclaimed arguing that Yelchin was at fault because he misused the SUV. Note though at the time of Yelchin’s accident, other Jeep Cherokee owners had reported that their vehicles have have rolled away unexpectedly. So the vehicles became part of a global recall because the gear shifter was confusing drivers. As a result of this confusion more than 260 crashes have occurred and more than 65 people have been injured. This seems very similar to what happened to Yelchin. A concerned friend went to check on him having not heard from him, and found Yelchin’s Jeep in neutral. This supports the theory that perhaps Yelchin too had mistaken neutral for park as had other Jeep drivers.
Watching Yelchin’s parents talk about the suit and the loss of their son is horrifying. Yelchin did not need to die. His family, his friends, and his fans did not have to say goodbye to him at such a young age. With Yelchin’s death, Hollywood has certainly lost one of its brightest, young stars. PROOFwithJillStanley will be following the Yelchin lawsuit as well as other related cases and will keep you apprised of what happens in connection with this terrible loss. As an attorney who has handled similar cases, I can tell you that it will be years before this matter is resolved.
Perhaps less well-known that Anton Yelchin but no less loved was actor Nick Lashaway. He too was enjoying success in Hollywood and had landed roles in Girls, In Time, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and The Last Song. when he was involved in a multi-car accident on May 8, 2016 in Framingham, Massachusetts. Like Anton, Nick was young at the time of the accident–28 years old. And also like Anton, he was driving a Jeep. Note though there have been not been any allegations that Lashaway’s vehicle malfunctioned or that the accident resulted from gear shift confusion. When he was pulled from his vehicle, it was on fire. Despite CPR being performed on the scene, Lashway did not survive the crash.
The cause of Lashaway’s accident is still under investigation and at this point it is unknown whether the actor’s family will file a lawsuit in connection with it. Because it was multi-car accident potential causes are many.
I have spent much of my career litigating catastrophic injury cases and these two are among the saddest. Rest in peace Anton Yelchin and Nick Lashaway you will be forever missed.
Thanks to our friend and contributor, Attorney Jill Stanley from Proof with Jill Stanley, for her insight into the worst celebrity car accidents of 2016.