Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Walker crash site known for racing

Tributes lie at the site of the car crash that killed actor Paul Walker and another man in Valencia, California. (AP/Nick Ut)
Tributes lie at the site of the car crash that killed actor Paul Walker and another man in Valencia, California. (AP/Nick Ut)
Fast And Furious actor Paul Walker (AP/Andrew Medichini)

The California neighbourhood where Fast & Furious star Paul Walker died in a car crash is known to attract street racers.

Walker and his friend and fellow fast-car enthusiast Roger Rodas died on Saturday when the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT they were travelling in smashed into a lamppost and a tree.

The two had taken what was expected to be a brief drive away from a charity event at Mr Rodas' custom car shop in the Southern California community of Valencia, about 30 miles north west of Los Angeles.

The crash happened on a street that forms an approximately one-mile loop amid industrial office parks and is rimmed by hills and isolated from traffic, especially at weekends.

"It's well-known out here that that's a hot spot for street racers," Sgt Rick Miler of California Highway Patrol said. "It's a long stretch where, weekends, businesses are all closed and they feel like nobody's going to bother them up there."

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is still investigating the accident but has already said speed was a factor. The limit was 45mph.

Investigators are trying to determine how fast the car was travelling and what caused it to go out of control, including whether the driver was distracted or something in the road prompted him to swerve.

Walker's publicist said the action star was Mr Rodas' passenger. The bodies were so badly burned by the fire that engulfed the wreckage that dental records will be needed to officially confirm their identities.

Walker, 40, and Mr Rodas, 38, had bonded over their shared love of racing. They co-owned a racing team named after Mr Rodas' shop, Always Evolving.

Mr Rodas was a financial adviser as well as a professional driver who competed in 10 Pirelli World Challenge GTS races in 2013, his first year on the circuit. He finished second in the rookie of the year standings.

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 set for a July release.

Fans of Walker have continued to gather at the crash site, leaving flowers and memorabilia from the movie franchise about fast cars that made him famous.

AP

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