An investigator said yesterday that drag racing may have caused the fiery crash that killed “Fast & Furious” actor Paul Walker on Saturday in Valencia, Calif., according to Alan Duke and Holly Yan, writing for CNN. And even if drag racing was not involved, authorities are investigating the possibility that another car “veered” in front of the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, CNN writes. Walker was a passenger in the car, which was driven by his racing team partner, Roger Rodas, who was also killed in the crash.
In an article for Los Angeles Daily News that appears on San Jose Mercury News, Brenda Gazzar and Kelly Goff write that witnesses watched helplessly as the two men in the car were quickly engulfed in flames:
Rodas, 38, and Walker, 40, were in a 2005 red Porsche Carrera GT on Saturday afternoon when Rodas lost control of the supercar on a street in an industrial park in Valencia. The car slammed into a light pole, hit a tree and exploded in flames upon or shortly after impact, just before 3:30 p.m.
Brandon Torp, 28, of Santa Clarita, who said he was one of the first people on the scene, said the fire was 15 or 20 feet high, LADN writes. He said he and at least three other people grabbed fire extinguishers from a custom car shop where a charity event for Walker’s organization Reach Out Worldwide was just ending. Torp said one of Walker’s close friends ran to the front of the car to try to pull Walker out, but “sheriffs pushed him away” because of the danger, LADN reports.
LADN writes that Brandon Torp and his father, Jim Torp, who was also there, said they do not believe Rodas and Walker were racing at the time of the crash. Jim Torp told CNN that he thought he heard a blast in the distance before the car slammed into a light pole.
Tire skid marks on the asphalt near the crash site, which indicate a car was doing doughnut spins, also are being looked at, [Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Richard] Cohen said. It has not been concluded that they are related to the Walker wreck, he said. The street has a reputation for fast drivers, which spurred a crackdown by deputies two years ago, he said.
Torp told CNN that he looked closely at the skid marks and concluded they were left by a car with smaller tires.
At the time of his death, Walker was working on the seventh film in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, which is due out next year, CNN writes. Tom O’Neil, editor of the show business website Doldderby.com, told CNN that it is not known how the film will proceed: “We don’t know what they’ll do here, or even if they’ll just say, ‘It may be tasteless to proceed at all because we can’t be showing Paul Walker in a speeding car, defying death in a movie that ended up being the way he died.’ ”
Racing or not, speed was a factor in the crash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said. A 45 mph speed limit sign was attached to the light pole knocked down by the Porsche.
The car, which sold for $450,000 when new, is a notoriously difficult vehicle to handle, even for professional drivers, according to Autoweek magazine. A top driver called it “scary,” the magazine reported Sunday. It is powered by a V-10, 610-hp engine.
Image by Ulyana Gazdick.