'Star Trek' Actor Anton Yelchin's Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Fiat Chrysler

"It's against nature when the parents bury their own child," his father said.

ByABC News
August 2, 2016, 6:01 PM

— -- The parents of "Star Trek Beyond" actor Anton Yelchin have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler, their attorney, Gary Dordick, announced Tuesday.

At a press conference, Dordick said that Victor and Irina Yelchin filed the lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court to "punish" the car company that manufactured what they say was a defective 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee that killed their son in June.

On June 19, Yelchin's vehicle, which Dordick says had a defective electronic transmission shift, rolled away and pinned him against his entry gate, killing him.

"We are seeking punitive damages because we believe Fiat Chrysler, ZF North America, that made and manufactured and sold this product, knew that it was defective. They failed to take action to protect the families that trusted them to make their vehicles safe. They put profits before safety," Dordick said. "We intend to hold them accountable. We intend to have a jury punish them. We want them made to know that this type of conduct -- money and profits before safety -- is unacceptable. They cannot wait for someone to be hurt and someone to be killed before they do the right thing."

According to The Associated Press, Yelchin's SUV was among the more than 1 million vehicles recalled by Fiat Chrysler because its gear shift did not clearly indicate whether or not it was in park. A report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that as of June 24, the defect led to almost 700 complaints, 266 crashes and fires, and 68 injury incidents. Dordick, who was joined by Yelchin's parents, showed a recall letter that Fiat Chrysler sent to the late actor seven days after his death.

"In spite of our unbelievable grief, we decided to come here to prevent other families from the same tragedy," Victor Yelchin told the press. "Anton was our only son. He was a remarkable human being. Very modest, very simple, very honest generous, loving. It is wrong, it’s against nature when the parents bury [their] own child. That’s why we hope that this lawsuit will make [sure another] family never go[es] through the same hell that we’re going through right now."

The AP reported that Fiat Chrysler is expediting its recall of the vehicle.

In a statement to ABC-owned station KABC, Fiat Chrysler said: "FCA US LLC extends its sympathies to the Yelchin family for their tragic loss. The Company has not been served with a lawsuit and cannot comment further at this time. FCA US urges customers to follow the instructions in their owners' manuals and the information cards sent with their recall notices. These instructions include advising customers to set the parking brakes in their vehicles before exiting."

Yelchin is currently appearing in the film "Star Trek Beyond" as Pavel Chekov and has roles in several other projects that have yet to be released. According to reports, his parents recently filed to control his estate, as he died without a will.

Dordick said the Yelchins are also suing ZF North America, the manufacturers of the gear shift.

ZF North America did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.