Actor Paul Walker and one other person were killed in a fiery accident Saturday afternoon in the city of Valencia.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the crash took place at around 3:30 p.m. in the 28300 block of Hercules Street when a red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT lost control, smashed into a light pole, and caught fire. As police and fire crews arrived on scene, the 610 horsepower supercar was already completely destroyed. Both Walker and the driver of the vehicle, Roger Rodas, were pronounced dead at the scene.
The 40 year old actor best known for his role in the “Fast and the Furious” movie franchise was attending a charity event for his own organization, Reach Out Worldwide, at the time of the accident.
Universal Studios, the movie production company responsible for the Furious films, released a statement following the announcement of Walker’s death saying, “All of us at Universal are heartbroken. Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the ‘Fast and Furious’ films, and to countless fans. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul’s family.”
In the initial investigation following the crash, speed has been identified as a primary factor. An anonymous tip suggested that the Porsche may have been racing with another vehicle at the time, but investigators were unable to find any evidence of a second vehicle and the possibility has been ruled out. Circular tire skid marks found on the road, created by a vehicle performing donuts, were also investigated as an indicator of reckless driving, however the tire marks did not match Walker’s Porsche.
Jim Torp, an attendant of the charity event, told reporters that Hercules Street has a reputation for speeding vehicles, and that he heard a blast sound before the crash occurred. “What the first explosion was, I don’t know if their tire blew up, because it sounded like a tire blew on the car.”
Another witness at the event, Antonio Holmes, said, “We all heard from our location. It’s a little difficult to know what it was. Someone called it in and said it was a vehicle fire. We all ran around and jumped in cars and grabbed fire extinguishers and immediately went to the vehicle. It was engulfed in flames. There was nothing, they were trapped. Employees, friends of [Rodas’] shop. We tried. We tried. We went through fire extinguishers.”