Investigators have come to the conclusion that speed and unsafe driving, not any mechanical problems with the car in which he was riding, attributed to the deaths of Paul Walker and Roger Rodas. The report, conducted by the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, calculates that the driver of the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, Roger Rodas, was driving at speeds between 81 mph and 94 mph on the suburban road, which had a speed limit of 45 mph. Speed estimates were based on a telling mark on the road from the car’s tire. The November accident killed both Walker, 40, and his friend and financial advisor, Rodas, 38.
Rodas, originally from El Salvador, was a professional driver on the Pirelli World Challenge 2013 circuit and left behind a wife and two young children. At the time of his death, Walker had just connected with a teenage daughter. Although he had begun his career in a handful of movies and TV shows, he was perhaps best known for starring in the “Fast & Furious” franchise.
The two men had been at a fundraiser for Walker & Rodas’ charity, Reach Out Worldwide, when they decided to take the car for a quick ride. The accident, which took place in an industrial area of Santa Clarita, occurred as the Porsche came out of a curve and began to lose control, drifting over the road. The out-of-control car hit a light pole before catching on fire. As it occurred so near to the fundraiser, friends of both men were on the scene almost immediately, as was the young son of Rodas, who ran to the scene because he wanted to see the fire, not knowing that his father was caught up in it.
California Highway Patrol accident reconstruction specialists concluded in their report, which has not been officially released to the public, that “the vehicle had no mechanical failure and the damage that occurred to the vehicle was from the collision.” The anonymous source told the Associated Press that he had read the final report. The Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman, Nicole Nishida, stated in an email Tuesday that no new insight into the crash was available, but that they “will have something in the very near future.” The CHP did not made a statement.
According to the Associated Press, a December investigation found no indication that the car had experienced mechanical problems, and ruled out the road or debris having been a factor in the accident. In light of the findings, Porsche engineers traveled to California in order to examine what was left of the car, which was burned and twisted from the collision. After doing a thorough investigation, the engineers for Porsche found no issue with any of the car’s systems. They did not respond to inquiries on Tuesday.
Investigations after the crash identified issues with the car that did not cause the accident, but were of note. The tires were five years past their recommended replacement date and the left rear brake rotor was in need of replacement. Even so, these two problems were not a factor in the crash.
By Jennifer Pfalz