Memorial Held For Paul Walker, Crash Not Part Of Street Race - KMSP-TV

Memorial Held For Paul Walker, Crash Not Part Of Street Race

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(FOX 11 / AP) While the neighborhood 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 traveling alone at a high rate of speed," the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement 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 Saturday when Rodas' 2005 Porsche Carrera GT smashed into a light pole and tree, then exploded in flames. The posted limit was 45 mph.

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 Valencia, about 30 miles 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-mile 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 Sgt. Rick Miler said.

Skid marks are a testament to past antics on the loop. The sheriff's department, which polices the neighborhood, 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 witnesses and analyzing physical evidence such as on-board computer data from the Porsche.

A steady stream of fans has flocked to the crash site to leave flowers, candles and memorabilia from the action films.

On Monday night, a private memorial for survivors and the cast and crew of the "Fast & Furious" movies was held inside a white tent erected around the crash site. When it was over, Walker's co-star Vin Diesel emerged to thank fans for paying their respect to the actor.

"Thank you for coming and showing that angel up in heaven how much you appreciated him," Diesel said to the crowd, using the bullhorn of a police cruiser.

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 installment; Universal Pictures has not said what it plans to do with "Fast & Furious 7," currently slated for a July release.



The LA Times excellent film critic Betsy Sharkey called Paul Walkers sudden fiery death  ''heartbreaking irony''. That's a good way to put it.  

Today, as has been the case since Saturday afternoon, hordes of people have found their way to the crash scene in a fairly distant section of Valencia.  They bring flowers, momentos, photos, they write a few words on posters or carve their message into one of the trees the Porsche Walker was in slammed into before exploding into flames.  

Walker, apparently the passenger in a half million dollar Porsche Carrera GT being driven by his friend and business partner Roger Rodas, had just left a charity function sponsored by his ''first aid' organization called  "Reach Out Worldwide".  The fans who came to see the spot where he died said they loved him because he was a good actor, good looking ( the ladies were unanimous on that ) but that he radiated a sense that he was a good person, who cared about others and wasn't just caught up in being a star.  There is no answer to the question of ''why bad things happen to good people". Things happen.  

An investigation may or may not turn up why the driver of the car lost control.  Speed was no doubt involved.  Things happen.  We move on.  Seems Walker will be remembered as one of the good guys.   



LOS ANGELES (FOX 11 / AP) - A fiery car crash near Santa Clarita has killed 40-year-old Paul Walker, the star of the "Fast & Furious" movie series, and one other person in the vehicle.

Deputies found a Porsche Carrera GT engulfed in flames when they responded to a report of a collision Saturday afternoon in the community of Valencia, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. Two people who were found in the car were pronounced dead at the scene.

Walker's publicist Ame Van Iden confirmed the actor's death. A statement on Walker's Facebook page said he was a passenger in a friend's car, and that Walker was in the area to attend a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide.

The Sheriff's Department said that speed was a factor in the crash.

The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reported that the Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree and burst into flames. The fundraiser, to benefit victims of Typhoon Haiyan, took place at a nearby racecar shop. Attendees rushed to put out the flames with fire extinguishers to no avail.

"All of us at Universal are heartbroken," Universal Pictures, which has released the "Fast & Furious" franchise, said in a statement. "Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the 'Fast and Furious' films, and to countless fans."

His "Fast & Furious" co-star Vin Diesel posted a photograph of him and Walker arm-in-arm on Instagram with the message: "Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless."

Walker rode the "Fast & Furious" franchise to stardom, starring in all but one of the six action blockbusters, beginning with the first film in 2001. The blond-haired, blue-eyed Los Angeles-native brought California surfer good-looks and an easy, warm charm to the popular street-racing series.

The son of a fashion model and a sewer contractor, Walker grew up in a working class, Mormon household in Glendale, Calif. The oldest of five siblings, Walker's mother began taking him to auditions as a toddler. He was a child model beginning at the age of 2.

Walker has said the early induction to show business wasn't to start him on a career path, but as a way to help provide for the family.

After a string of TV roles as a child in the '80s, including small roles on "Who's the Boss" and "Charles in Charge," Walker made his feature film debut in the 1998 comedy "Meet the Deedles." Supporting roles in the films "Pleasantville," ''Varsity Blues" and "Flags of Our Fathers" followed.

His performance in the 2000 thriller "The Skulls" caught the eye of producer Neal H. Moritz, who cast him in "The Fast and the Furious" as undercover police officer Brian O'Conner. Adapted from a Vibe magazine article about underground street races, the film became an unexpected hit.

In the sequel, "2 Fast 2 Furious," Walker moved to center stage with Diesel temporarily dropping out. Walker, a self-described "gearhead," kept his character's sports car from the film.

Walker starred in other films, including the crime thriller "Running Scared," the Antarctic adventure "Eight Below" and the heist film "Takers." Though his stardom didn't make as much of an impact outside the "Fast & Furious" series, Walker continually drew praise from his co-stars and directors as a kind-hearted and eager collaborator.

"Your humble spirit was felt from the start," Ludacris, Walker's "Fast & Furious" co-star, said on Twitter. "Wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers."

"Fast & Furious" proved unusually enduring. Released in May, "Fast & Furious 6" was the most lucrative of them all, grossing more than $788 million worldwide. The seventh installment began shooting in September, with a release planned for July. The film's production was on break with more shooting to be done.

Walker stars in the upcoming Hurricane Katrina drama "Hours," which Lionsgate's Pantelion Films is to release Dec. 13. He also stars in "Brick Mansions," a remake of the French action film "District B13" in post-production that Relativity plans to release next year. "Paul was an incredibly talent artist, devoted philanthropist and friend," Relativity President Tucker Tooley said in a statement.

He formed Reach Out Worldwide in 2010 to aid people struck by natural disasters.

A friend of Walker's who attended the fundraiser Saturday, Bill Townsend, told AP Radio, "He was very happy. He was smiling at everybody, just tickled that all these people came out to support this charity. He was doing what he loved. He was surrounded by friends, surrounded by cars."

Walker is survived by his 15-year-old daughter.


From Alexandra Limon:

Hundreds of people visited the site where actor Paul Walker and a friend, died in a crash.  One of the mourners was Walker's co-star Tyrese Gibson who held a single yellow flower and broke down in tears.

Other sad fans and friends also paid their respects, "He was really sweet and adorable.  I loved watching his movies and they made me really happy," said Milan Linzy.

"I was like in shock, it's hard to believe it," said another fan, Grace Costanza.

Walker was best known for his role in the Fast & Furious franchise, it's unclear what will happen with Fast & Furious 7 which was already in production but unfinished.

"I think maybe they should finish making this next movie, and then call it quits after that, in respect to him," said fan Nick Krivack.

Fans are shocked that walker died in a while riding in a high performance car, much like the ones in his movies.  The Sheriff's department confirmed speed was a factor in the crash.

"This is a little bit ironic, with the movies and the fast cars and things like that. We don't know that it was reckless type of driving though," said Michelle Linzy.

At the scene that was now crowded with fans, you can see skid marks and damage to a tree.

The blond hair blue eyed star was at a charity toy drive Saturday afternoon – then walker and a friend - Roger Rodas - left in the Porsche.  Friends say Rodas was driving.

Marty Codnon was driving home shortly after the crash happened, "They say squashed like a pancake, that's what it was like.  I don't it would've gone up to my waist if it had gone by, there was just like nothing left," he said.

While visiting the scene Tyrese didn't talk to reporters, but he did post a message on Instagram, Vin Diesel and other stars from Fast & Furious have also posted messages of condolences and grief on social media.

The Walker family told FOX 11 they are grieving and not ready to speak to the media.

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