Paul Walker, best known for his work in the blockbuster “The Fast & The Furious” franchise, died in a car accident at 40 years old on Saturday.
He was a passenger in a Porsche sports car driven by a friend – who also died – when it crashed north of that slammed into a light pole and burst into flames in an office park in the community of Santa Clarita north of Los Angeles, about 30 miles north of Hollywood.
The identity of the second victim, a male, has not been released by authorities; but numerous reports have identified the driver as Roger Rodus, the owner of Walker’s auto-racing team, Always Evolving.
Speed was a factor in the crash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said. A 45 mph speed limit sign was attached to the light pole knocked down by the Porsche, said reports.
Antonio Holmes said that “he was at the charity event when Walker and Rodus left for a ride in the Porsche”. “We all heard from our location,” Holmes told the Signal. “It’s a little difficult to know what it was. Someone called it in and said it was a vehicle fire. We all ran around and jumped in cars and grabbed fire extinguishers and immediately went to the vehicle. It was engulfed in flames. There was nothing. They were trapped. Employees, friends of the shop. We tried. We tried. We went through fire extinguishers.”
Earlier, the sheriff’s department and county coroner confirmed that two people were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash in Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles, around 3:30 p.m. PT. “When they arrived, deputies found the vehicle engulfed in flames. The Los Angeles County Fire Department responded, extinguished the fire and subsequently located two victims inside the vehicle,” Sheriff’s Deputy Kim Manatt said in a statement. “The victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the collision is under investigation.”
Walker and Rodus had planned Saturday as a day to help survivors of victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The car shop website invited customers to the Charity Toy Drive & Automotive Social Gathering. Walker’s charity is described as “a network of professionals with first responder skill-sets who augment local expertise when natural disasters strike in order to accelerate relief efforts.”
“Fast” running mate Vin Diesel posted an image of him and Walker on Instagram with the caption: “Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace.”
Prior to reaching new heights with the “Fast” franchise, Walker had appeared in films like “Varsity Blues” and “She’s All That.”
Walker also starred in the suspense drama Hours, a movie that is set for release this month.