While the neighbourhood where Fast & Furious star Paul Walker died in a fiery crash is known to attract street racers, law enforcement officials do not believe the Porsche he and a friend were riding in had been racing another car.
Accident investigators “have received eyewitness statements that the car involved was travelling alone at a high rate of speed,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a written statement on Monday. “No eyewitness has contacted the (department) to say there was a second vehicle.”
Walker and his friend and fellow fast-car enthusiast Roger Rodas died on Saturday when Rodas’ 2005 Porsche Carrera GT smashed into a light pole and tree, then exploded in flames. The posted limit was 72 km/h.
The two had taken what was expected to be a brief drive away from a charity fundraiser and toy drive at Rodas’ custom car shop in the Southern California community of Valencia, about 48 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles. Walker’s publicist said the action star was the passenger.
The crash happened on a street that forms an approximately 1.6-kilometre loop amid industrial office parks. It is rimmed by hills and relatively isolated from traffic, especially on weekends when the businesses are closed.
“It’s well-known out here that that’s a hot spot for street racers,” California Highway Patrol Sergeant Rick Miler said.
Skid marks are a testament to past antics on the loop. The sheriff’s department, which polices the neighbourhood, said Saturday’s wreck was not the first speed-related crash there, but would not reveal specifics.
Meanwhile, investigators are consulting video from security cameras, talking to eyewitnesses and analysing physical evidence such as on-board computer data from the Porsche.
Officials have not named either person found in the car. The bodies were so badly burned by the fire that engulfed the wreck that dental records will be needed to confirm their identities.
Walker and Rodas had bonded over their shared love of fast cars.
Rodas, 38, and Walker, 40, co-owned an auto racing team named after Rodas’ shop, Always Evolving. Rodas was a financial adviser as well as a professional driver who competed in 10 Pirelli World Challenge GTS races in 2013. He finished second in rookie of the year standings, circuit spokesman Dave Drimmie said.
Walker starred in all but one of the six Fast & Furious blockbusters.
He had been on break from shooting the latest instalment; Universal Pictures has not said what it plans to do with Fast & Furious 7, currently slated for a July release.