The Los Angeles coroner has requested the dental records of Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker and his friend, Roger Rodas, who died in a fiery crash involving Rodas’s red Porsche Carrera GT Saturday afternoon in Valencia, Santa Clarita.
The two bodies recovered from the wreckage “are not visually identifiable,” explained Los Angeles County Coroner investigator Dana Bee.
While Walker’s publicist confirmed Walker’s death on Twitter, saying he was a passenger in the half-million dollar car that can reach speeds of 205 mph (330 kmh), it may take “a couple days” before the identities of the two bodies in themangled, incinerated car can be officially confirmed, Bee said.
“When you see a vehicle this destroyed, speed definitely played a role,” in causing a single-car crash, said Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy Mark Wood.
Witnesses said that there was little anyone could do to save Walker and Rodas after their Porsche crashed.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department continued to investigate the single-car crash but did not reveal any details on a possible cause.
The four-lane road up the hilly street has signs warning drivers to slow down as they approach an uphill curve near the site of the accident.
Witness Jim Torp said he heard a loud boom, and knew his friends had been in an accident. The smoke from the crash was visible from Always Evolving Performance Motors.
Jim Torp’s son, Brandon, 28, grabbed a fire extinguisher and headed up the hill, followed by about 20 other workers, the elder Torp said.
“There was nothing they could do,” he told The Times.
Brandon Torp told the Los Angeles Daily News that flames from the fire were 15 to 20 feet tall.
“The fire was too big – we couldn’t do anything,” he said. “It all happened so quick.”
The fiery crash left charred trees in the secluded area near a business park, and a burned smell lingered in the air Sunday. The car, which was reduced to an ashen hulk, had toppled a tree and a concrete lamp post, which crews from Southern California Edison removed Sunday. Looping tire tracks were visible on the asphalt nearby.
Investigators are looking at whether the tire tracks are related to the crash, but the investigation is ongoing, said Sheriff’s Deputy Peter Gomez. There probably will not be an update on the investigation until Monday, he said.
A video taken moments after the accident shows black smoke billowing from the crumpled red Porsche, which caught fire, and debris scattered about the roadway.
“The car is in half. I can’t tell if there is someone in there,” one person on the video is heard saying.
Seconds later comes an answer: “Yes, there is someone in there.” At least one person heard on the video expresses concern that the burning car could explode.
Eduardo Luna, who owns the warehouse across from where the event was held, saw the Porsche leave the parking lot moments before the crash. Ten minutes later, he heard about the accident and ran down to Hercules Street, where he saw the car in flames.
“They just didn’t want to believe this happened,” Torp told fans and media at the crash site on Sunday. “It was Fast and the Furious, that’s what it is. Both race car enthusiasts, both loved speed, both knew how to handle cars, and this had to happen.”
Walker was in good spirits earlier in the afternoon and overwhelmed by the event’s success, Torp said. The parking lot of the shop had been full of high-performance cars, and he and Rodas were greeting people, shaking hands and enjoying themselves.
Reach Out Worldwide was formed in 2010 as a quick-response first-aid organization, and the event was one of many car shows Rodas helped put on each month, Torp said. Proceeds were to be donated to families affected by the typhoon in the Philippines and a tornado in Indiana, Torp said.
When Rodas’ wife and young daughter arrived at the Always Evolving warehouse after the accident, he said he heard screaming through the doors after they learned of Rodas’ death.
“The saddest part was watching … Paul Walker’s daughter break down,” Torp said.
Rodas, 38, was active in philanthropy and supported several charities through his racing. He competed in 10 Pirelli World Challenge GTS races in 2013, according to the racing organization. Torp, who with his son has worked with Always Evolving for several years, described Rodas as a compassionate, fun man who cared deeply about others, and “loved his American cars as much as he loved his US$500,000 cars.”
“They died doing what they enjoy doing,” he said. “Two close friends died together right next to a church. They’re both with God.”
At the time of his death, the Fast & Furious star, who also appeared in Pleasantville and Varsity Blues, was working on the seventh film of the franchise.
It’s believed that there is not nearly enough material in the can to close O’Conner’s character arc in the picture, which would mean rewriting the script to allow for a new resolution — a complicated and timely process — or cutting Walker out of the film entirely. Walker’s planned scenes this week will almost certainly mean a schedule shuffle and could also lead to a halt in production.
Universal would not comment beyond a brief condolence message sent to reporters by a spokeswoman late Saturday. Moritz did not reply to a request for comment on plans for “Fast 7” in the wake of Walker’s death.
Dozens of fans gathered in Valencia early Sunday at the crash site, where a makeshift memorial was growing. Fast & Furious memorabilia was placed alongside candles and flowers. One sign read, “Paul Walker Race in Heaven.”