Actor Paul Walker, best known as one of the marquee names in the Fast and The Furious movie franchise, died in what appeared to be a high-speed car accident in Valencia today.
His management confirmed the death in a Facebook message tonight, saying the 40-year-old was "a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives."The L.A. County Sheriff's Department, while withholding the identities of those involved, reported that two people died in a collision in the 28300 block of Rye Canyon Loop about 3:30 p.m.
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. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
Walker's management said he was "attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide." The actor's death was first reported by TMZ. The site said he was taking a test ride in a Porsche as part of the charity event. The car involved appears to be a red Porsche Carrera GT, a rare Porsche with a V-10 motor that was produced from 2004 to 2007. Jay Leno famously spun out in one doing more than 180 miles per hour on a track a few years ago. The website Jalopnik tracked down a local performance shop that might own the Walker car.
SantaClarita Sheriff investigators still working the crash scene. pic.twitter.com/YSKPoxYVp9— Kevin Takumi (@KevinTakumi) December 1, 2013
[Update at 10:43 p.m.]: Sheriff's deputies said this in a statement tonight:
SantaClarita the street now open, fans get close to the crash. Some bring flowers, others look for car pieces pic.twitter.com/KdaMdM7Lqs— Kevin Takumi (@KevinTakumi) December 1, 2013
Speed was a factor in the solo vehicle collision. The car was a red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT.Several reports named the driver as Roger Rodas, the CEO of Always Evolving, a performance and car sales shop near the crash site with possible business ties to the actor. Walker and Rodas reportedly raced in Pirelli World Challenge Series races together. A toy drive was happening at Always Evolving when the two decided to go for a spin, according to this account. Always Evolving posted this photo of a red Carrera GT on its Facebook page not long before the crash: [Added at 11:16 p.m.]: R.J. DeVera, an Angeleno whose youthful import car club enthusiasm in the mid-'90s helped inspire the Fast and the Furious franchise, said this on his Facebook page tonight:
RIP my friend. I wish I would have made it up today. We were not super close but the reason I am who I am today is deeply rooted in the time we spent together making that first film. To someone who truly loved cars and all the things that life had to offer I salute you.Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.