The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

December 3, 2013

Officials: Walker crash not part of street race

LOS ANGELES (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.

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