Paul Walker (Getty Images)
New details are emerging about the tragic and sudden death of Paul Walker and his longtime friend and business partner Roger Rodas.
While investigators are trying to determine the circumstances surrounding Saturday's fatal single-car crash in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita, there are a few theories trickling out as to what could have been the cause. Did the Porsche Carrera GT malfunction? Was there another vehicle involved? Or did the driver simply lose control?
1. Speed Was a Factor
This much is clear: "speed was a factor" in the accident. That came straight from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in a statement. According to authorities, the driver appeared to lose control of the Porsche and slammed into a tree and light standard. The posted speed limit is 45 mph; however, the street is notorious for speed freaks, prompting the sheriff's department to crack down on violators in recent years.
2. Were Paul and Roger Street Racing?
Los Angeles Sheriff's Sgt. Richard Cohen of the Santa Clarita Valley Station tells omg! that his team is looking into everything involved in the traffic collision, per department protocol in such instances.
Investigators have received eyewitness statements that the car involved was traveling alone at a high rate of speed, the sheriff's department announced Monday. No one has contacted the department to say there was a second vehicle and there is no substantiated report yet that Rodas and Walker were racing.
Cohen also confirmed that detectives are examining tire skid marks on the road near the scene of the crash to see if they might have been related to the Walker crash or indicative that the vehicle might have been doing doughnuts.
Ironically, in 2001, Walker put out a safe driving PSA encouraging "The Fast and the Furious" fans to obey traffic laws. "All the racing stunts in our film were performed in a staged environment by professionals with years of training and experience," he said. "So with that in mind, be smart, drive safe and stay legal."
3. Possible Car Malfunction
What was left of the Porsche Carrera GT (Splash News)
According to a TMZ report citing unnamed sources at Always Evolving — the auto shop Walker and Rodas owned where the vehicle was stored and maintained — the crash may have happened as a result of mechanical failure.
The sources cited a fluid trail, noticeable absence of skid marks until just before the point of impact, and the fact that the fire spread so quickly in the front of the car rather than in the rear where the engine is, as evidence to back up that theory.
Further, a memo sent from Porsche HQ to multiple dealers in 2004, which was right before that Carrera GT went on sale, describing the vehicle as "sophisticated" in that its as close to a racecar as you could get, but that presented "disadvantages" as well. "You need to be aware of what type of road surface you are on (dips; pot holes, seam heights, etc.). This vehicle cannot drive over a Foster beer can that is lying on its side." It said something as simple as a speed bump could cause serious damage to it.
A witness told Hollywood Reporter that Walker jumped in the car to assist Rodas in troubleshooting a mechanical issue, not to go on a joyride. "As they were backing up the Carrera to put into the garage, it started stalling," said an unidentified witness. "I heard someone say, and I think it was Roger, 'Why is the car stalling? Let's take it around the block. Paul said, "Let me go with you really quickly."
"We are saddened to hear of this tragic accident," a rep for Porsche tells omg!. "Of course, we will cooperate fully with the authorities on any post-accident investigation."
Again, investigators are looking into all possible causes.
4. Roger Rodas Was an Experienced Driver
Rodas, a 38-year-old financial advisor, knew more about maneuvering Porsches than most. As a pro race-car driver, he made his mark while taking part for many years in the Porsche Cup Cars series, finishing second in 2012, and this year competed in 10 GTS Series races, according to the Pirelli World Challenge organization.
Aside from the posted 45-mph speed limit, there is a sign warning drivers to slow down where the accident occurred near the Always Evolving HQ. It's a road Roger drove many times before. As loved ones search for answers, many are clinging onto this fact and don't believe Roger would have just lost control of the vehicle.
5. Autopsy on Hold
Officially, authorities have not identified the victims because the bodies were burned beyond recognition in the crash (it was Walker's camp that confirmed he was a passenger in the car). The L.A. coroner's office tells omg! that it is obtaining dental records from the families and autopsies will be conducted as soon as Tuesday. By midweek, the coroner should make positive identifications and issue a preliminary death report.
6. Fans and 'Fast' Co-Stars Flock to Scene
Tyrese grieves for Paul Walker on Dec. 1 (AKM-GSI)
Tyrese Gibson paid an emotional visit to the crash site, where he broke down in tears while leaving flowers for his "Fast" co-star and close friend on Sunday. He posted this heartfelt message on Instagram:
"I will keep your energy with me forever #AshesOfAnAngel fast family around the world we live you and we love you Paul is the heartbeat of this franchise and were gonna see to it that his energy and presence lives on forever #myhearthurtssobad."
Tyrese took with him debris from the accident.
Walker's on-screen love interest, Jordana Brewster, also visited the scene of the crash, but onlookers tell "omg! Insider" she didn't get out of the car.
RZA, from the band Wu-Tang Clan, just released a tribute ballad titled "Destiny Bends," to his fallen "Brick Mansions" co-star.
7. The Fragrance Line He Was the Face of Shares Their Sadness
Walker starred in the ad campaign for Davidoff Cool Water, which was his first big product endorsement, and the company has issued a statement about his passing.
"The Davidoff Cool Water team who has worked closely with Paul Walker, is saddened to hear the news of his sudden death," a rep wrote on Facebook. "As the face of Davidoff Cool Water, Paul contributed to the National Geographic 'Love the Ocean' campaign, whose mission is to protect the ocean. His talent, generosity and passion for giving back was admirable. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul's family, friends, and fans around the world."
8. Paul's Family Speaks Out
Paul Walker's family is mourning together.
"I'm just glad that every time I saw him, I told him I loved him and he would say the same thing to me," Paul Walker III told L.A.'s CBS2, choking back tears. Walker Sr. and his wife, Cheryl Walker, raised the 40-year-old actor and his four siblings in Sunland, California, where family and friends gathered on Sunday to grieve. They also made a trip (Paul's dog, included) to the crash site.
"You can’t beat friends at a time like this," said the elder Walker. "His brothers are all taking it pretty hard."
Paul's father continued: "His heart was so open. I was proud of him every day of his life."
Paul Walker is also survived by his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow.
Watch the video to see how Hollywood is reacting to Paul's death:
(Originally published Dec. 2, 2013, at 11:28 a.m. PT)
- Transport Accident
- Paul Walker