Now, new developments regarding the tragic loss of Paul Walker and his friend and driver of the vehicle, Roger Rodas, have been released to the public.
UPDATE 12/2/13 3:30PM EST
The LA Sheriff’s department is investigating whether or not Paul Walker and Roger Rodas were involved in an illegal street race at the time of the crash.
According to TMZ:
Law enforcement sources tell us … investigators have received tips that Walker and the man driving the Porsche, Roger Rodas, had been racing prior to the crash … and the high speed may have contributed to the wreck that killed both men.
Investigators are looking for video footage and witnesses who may be able to shed more light on the situation, since the area is widely popular for street racing.
Paul’s father Paul Walker Sr. is also speaking out. In a tearful interview with the local news, he said:
“I’m just glad, that every time I saw him, I told him I loved him. And he would say the same thing to me. His heart was so big I was proud of him every day of his life,” later adding, “You can’t beat friends at a time like this. His brothers are all taking it pretty hard.”
Paul was looking forward to taking some time off to spend time with his daughter as well. His father continued:
“He told me “I want to take a hiatus,” his daughter Meadow is just 15 and “I don’t have much more time to be with her” and then boom, he got another movie. He would say, “I don’t know what to do.”
Earlier reports claim that the car was experiencing mechanical issues. TMZ is also reporting that eyewitnesses say they saw evidence of a fluid burst and subsequent fluid trail before the skid marks at the accident scene.
This could help explain why the fire spread so quickly and was focused in the front of the vehicle, instead of the back where the engine is located.
One of Paul’s friends told a TMZ photographer that after calling 911, he rushed to help.
“Soon as I arrived, myself other buddies, loved one, friends, a lot of Paul’s employees were here risking our own lives to put out the flames. He was trapped, I could see him. He was unconscious.
I was trying to put out the flames. his employees and brothers at heart were also trying. They were risking into the car and trying to undo his seat belt and I had to grab him to pull each other off. We were all fighting risking ourselves because it’s something he would have done and has proven to do.”
The friends went through 7 fire extinguishers trying to put out the flames.
According to an eyewitness, Rodas’ 8-year-old son witnessed the crash and tried to rescue his father by pulling him from the burning wreck. Jim Thorp said: “His son had jumped the fence and gone over, he was trying to get his dad out.”
We’ve also learned that the death car was having mechanical issues earlier in the day, and it was Paul’s first time in the Porsche. TMZ reports:
As Roger began to back into the garage to figure out why it was stalling, Paul came up and said he hadn’t driven in the Porsche yet — so he jumped in the passenger seat and they took a 20 minute drive.
The accident happened on their way back from the joy ride, just 500 yards away from the garage.
Paul’s best friend from childhood, Nute, grabbed a fire extinguisher and was among the first to arrive on scene. We’re told Nute frantically tried to extinguish the flames … even though it appeared to him both men were already dead.
Both Walker and Rodas, who was the CEO of Paul Walker’s company Reach Out Worldwide and a former racecar driver, were pronounced dead at the scene. Their bodies were burned so badly that they were not immediately identifiable. The L.A. County Coroner will make positive IDs of the body later this week after they verify the identities using dental records.
Meanwhile, Paul’s Fast co-star Tyrese broke down while visiting the crash site in Santa Clarita, California, and his emotional moment was caught on tape. You can see the star in tears, completely destroyed over the death of his friend.
Tyrese posted a picture of debris from the crash, writing:
I will keep your energy with me forever #AshesOfAnAngel fast family around the world we live you and we love you Paul is the heartbeat of this franchise and were gonna see to it that his energy and presence lives on forever#myhearthurtssobad
Eerily, leaked footage from the duo’s new film The Fast & Furious 7 shows Paul Walker and Tyrese attending a funeral. Tyrese’s character can be seen saying: “Promise me Brian, no more funerals,” and Walker replies: “Just one more.”
Paul was scheduled to film vital scenes for Fast 7 this week, but there could be a serious delay in the film, as many cast members claim they will NOT be returning to the set anytime soon.
Sources close to the production tell us most of the actors and crew were supposed to fly to Atlanta this weekend to resume filming on Tuesday … but they’re all expecting a halt in production.
Universal — the studio behind the movie — hasn’t announced when, or if, they’ll start shooting again … but we’re told some of the main stars are too distraught to work anyway.
Since Paul was the focus of these key scenes, the movie is going to need a major rewrite. At this time, no one even wants to think about the next steps.
Our condolences continue to go out to Walker and Rodas’ families. Keep checking back for more developments as they are released.