The star of “The Fast and the Furious” movie franchise and a friend identified as Roger Rodas died in Southern California after the Porsche they were in crashed, his rep confirmed to the Daily News. Police said speed was a factor. Walker was attending a charity event in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Los Angeles, when the accident happened.
STUART C. WILSON/GETTY IMAGES FOR UNIVERSAL PICTURES
Paul Walker, 40, died in a car accident in California on Saturday afternoon. Here, Walker attends the “Fast & Furious 6” world premiere in London, England, on May 7.
The 40-year-old Walker was riding in a red Porsche GT about 3:30 p.m. when the sports car flew off the road and slammed into a tree in Santa Clarita, authorities and witnesses said. The car burst into flames.
CARPARAZZIS VIA FACEBOOK
Paul Walker (left) seen with Roger Rodas, who has been identified as the other person who died in the car crash.
“It was engulfed in flames,” said Antonio Holmes, a friend of Walker’s who raced to the scene after hearing about the crash. “There was nothing. They were trapped.”
Holmes said he was among a group of people who showed up at the site with fire extinguishers and tried to rescue Walker and the driver. “We tried. We tried,” he told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal. “Him and his buddy, his brother in arms at heart, just decided to joyride, take a spin. Something we all do.”
LLOYD BISHOP/NBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK VIA GETTY IMAGES
Paul Walker, who visited “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on May 24, died Saturday in a single car accident in Santa Clarita.
Jim Torp, who was also at the event, identified the second victim as Roger Rodas, a pro racer and father of two who owned Always Evolving Performance Motors. Torp described how Rodas’ 8-year-old son tried to save his dad.
“I ran over afterwards, I was trying to find Roger’s son,” Torp said. “I found out his son had jumped the fence and gone over, he was trying to get his dad out. Paul Walker’s best friend was trying to get Paul out of the car while it was still on fire … he was trying to save his friend … there was nothing he could do.”
CARPARAZZIS VIA FACEBOOK
Photo of the Porsche that Paul Walker was a passenger in when it crashed in Santa Clarifa, Calif.
Torp said friends of the actor and race-car driver were trying to make sense of the horrific crash and its grim parallel to Walker’s movie franchise.
PAUL WALKER VIA TWITTER
This photo of Paul Walker in his 2005 film “Into the Blue” was tweeted from his account on May 2, captioned, “PW’s 2005 adventure #IntoTheBlue was set in what scenic tropical location? – #TeamPW #tbt”
“It’s strange,” Torp said. “(Walker) made his movies. He lived his life and he died fast and furious today. He loved speed, he loved cars, and he had to die this way. He died in a very fast car with his friend.”
Coroner Ed Winters said the bodies were so badly burned they would take days to positively identify.
DAN WATSON/SANTA CLARITA VALLEY SIGNAL
A sheriff’s deputy at the scene of a crash in Valencia, Calif., where Paul Walker and another person were killed when a Porsche crashed Saturday.
Walker was in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Los Angeles, for a charity event to benefit his organization Reach Out Worldwide, which sends first responders to the scenes of natural disasters.
The event was held at Rodas’ Always Evolving Performance Motors, just down the street from the accident site on Rye Canyon Loop, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
A video was taken by someone riding by the scene of the accident in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Saturday afternoon.
“He was a great guy. His employees loved him,” friend Torp said of Rodas. “Every month Roger did a car show to help people. This was the big one for him, they were trying to help the victims in Indiana and the monsoon (in the Philippines),” Torp said.
Responding deputies found the vehicle “engulfed in flames,” authorities said.
CHRIS WEEKS/WIREIMAGE FOR SILVER SPOON
A Porsche GT like the one Paul Walker was riding in California when he died Saturday.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze — and then found the two victims in the charred wreckage. They were pronounced dead at the scene. Police said speed was a factor in the crash.
DAVE J. HOGAN/GETTY IMAGES
From left to right: Luke Evans, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Gal Gadot, Paul Walker, Justin Lin, Elisa Pataky, Vin Diesel, Gina Carano, Tyrese Gibson and Ssung Kang attend the world premiere of “Fast & Furious 6” in London, England, on May 7.
“Sadly, I must confirm that Paul did pass away this afternoon in a car accident,” said his rep, Ame Van Iden.
“All of us at Universal are heartbroken,” Universal Pictures, the studio behind “The Fast the Furious” franchise, said in a statement following Walker’s death.
Paul Walker in “2 Fast 2 Furious.” The franchise was his most well-known work.
“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.”
In a grim twist, Walker’s death came just days after he was the victim of an online death hoax. Several celebs and journalists took to Twitter hoping the new reports were another sick joke.
Walker entered show business when he was just a toddler. The actor is seen here modeling the Colcci summer collection with Erin Heatherton (left) and Izabel Goulart at Sao Paulo Fashion Week in Brazil on March 21.
PAUL WALKER VIA TWITTER
This photo, sent out on Nov. 29, was the last tweeted from Paul Walker’s account before his death, showing him with co-starts Tyrese Gibson and Vin Diesel: “The boys are back. Will you be ready? – #TeamPW #FastFridays.”
His “Fast and Furious” co-stars bared their heartbreak after his death was confirmed. “Brother, I will miss you very much,” Vin Diesel wrote on Instagram. “Heaven has gained a new Angel.”
“I am so beyond heartbroken right now,” James Wan, director of “Fast & Furious 7,” wrote on Facebook.
“The Fast and the Furious” cast members Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez (left to right) arrive at the world premiere of the film on June 18, 2001, in Los Angeles. The franchise had seven total films.
Walker, raised a Mormon in the Los Angeles suburb of Sunland-Tujunga, entered show business when he was just a toddler. He scored roles in popular TV shows, including “Highway to Heaven,” and “Who’s the Boss?” His film career took off after he snagged a supporting role in the 1999 hit “Varsity Blues.”
Walker leaves behind a daughter, Meadow, 15. In his last tweet, on Friday, he posted a photo of him, Diesel and co-star Tyrese Gibson. “The boys are back,” read the message hyping the release of the seventh in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. “Will you be ready?”
FOREFRONT MEDIA GROUP
Paul Walker in “Vehicle 19.”
With Nancy Dillon and Joe Stepansky
On a mobile device? Watch the video from the scene of the accident here.
JAIMIE TRUEBLOOD/UNIVERSAL PICTURES VIA AP
Paul Walker, as agent Brian O’Conner, leans against his 1998 Nissan Skyline GTR in a scene from “The Fast and the Furious.”
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