Belfast Telegraph

Speed a factor in Walker crash

Investigators sought to determine the cause of a fiery crash that killed Fast And Furious star Paul Walker while the actor's fans erected a makeshift memorial near where the Porsche he was riding in smashed into a light pole and tree.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said speed was a factor in Saturday's one-car crash, though it will take time to determine how fast the car was going.

The crash also killed Walker's friend and financial adviser Roger Rodas, according to the actor's publicist, Ame Van Iden. She said the actor was a passenger in the 2005 red Porsche Carrera GT when they drove away from a fundraiser in the community of Valencia, about 30 miles (50km) north-west of downtown Los Angeles.

Sheriff's deputies found the car engulfed in flames when they arrived at the site of the crash, near the fundraiser at Mr Rodas' sports car dealership. Officials have not identified either person found in the car.

On Sunday, fans of the 40-year-old actor gathered to leave flowers, candles and memorabilia from the action movies.

Walker is "gone but he'll never be forgotten because there are so many people that look up to him," Joel Perez, 23, told the Los Angeles Times at the memorial.

Sheriff's deputy Peter Gomez said investigators are working 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.

After the Porsche crashed into a light pole and tree, it burst into flames. The downed light pole had a speed limit sign of 45 mph (73 kph).

Walker rode the Fast And Furious franchise to fame, starring in all but one of the six action blockbusters, beginning with the first film in 2001. He had been on a break from shooting the seventh instalment; production began in September and while much of the film has been shot, it is incomplete.

Universal Pictures has not said what it plans to do with Fast And Furious 7, which currently is slated for release in July.

Walker and Rodas had thrown a fundraiser benefiting victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines. The event was held by Reach Out Worldwide, a charity Walker founded in 2010 to aid victims of natural disasters.

The fundraiser and toy drive took place at Rodas' custom car shop, Always Evolving, in an area of warehouses and office parks. Attendees rushed to the crash, which was nearby but out of sight, to try to put out the flames with fire extinguishers.

One attendee of the event, Jim Torp, said he heard the loud sound of a car's engine revving and then an explosion. Walker and Rodas planned a quick ride, Mr Torp said.

"The last words Paul said to anybody were, 'Hey, I'll be back in five minutes. All right?' And that was it," according to Mr Torp.

Mr Torp said Rodas had a young son, whom he tried to stop from running to the accident scene, but could not catch him in time.

Walker left behind two completed films. He stars in the upcoming Hurricane Katrina drama Hours, which Lionsgate's Pantelion Films is to release on December 13. He also stars in Brick Mansions, a remake of the French action film District B13 that Relativity plans to release next year.

His Fast And Furious co-stars reacted with shock to the actor's death. Vin Diesel posted a photograph of him and Walker arm-in-arm on Instagram with the message: "I am absolutely speechless."

Ludacris said on Twitter: "Wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers."

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

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