Porsche engineers from Stuttgart, Germany are coming to town next month to help L.A. County Sheriff's Department detectives extract data from so-called black boxes recovered from the 2005 Carrera GT in which actor Paul Walker died.
Investigators hope the info will shed light on what exactly happened on the afternoon of Nov. 30 when the Porsche, driven by Walker pal Roger Rodas, crashed in Santa Clarita and ended up in flames. Both men were dead at the scene:
In a move to put the brakes on speculative reports about the wreck, including false stories of road racing and more recent news that the edgy Porsche might have lost traction after hitting lane markers known as Botts' dots, the department said last night that the jury's still out on the cause.
A statement from the Sheriff's Department says:
No conclusions have yet been reached as to the cause of the collision. Traffic investigators with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are scheduled to meet in January with engineers from Porsche to analyze the data retrieval system (computer) in the car. Information that might possibly be obtained from the computer is speed, RPM's, throttle opening, air bag deployment, seat belt use, and other possible information.
The New York Daily News this week, citing an unnamed sheriff's source, said there are actually three black boxes to be examined.
The source said Rodas was driving “fairly straight” when the two-seat roadster crashed on Hercules Street at Kelly Johnson Parkway: “There's no evidence he lost control in the curve at all.”
Only hours after the accident sheriff's officials declared that speed was a factor. The black boxes could shed some light on that. According to the most recent sheriff's statement:
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station traffic investigators are continuing to document the investigation and have received eyewitness statements that the car involved was traveling alone at a high rate of speed. No eyewitness has contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to say there was a second vehicle. The posted speed limit in the area of the collision is 45 MPH.
The Porsche apparently hit a pole and a tree before coming to a stop mangled and in pieces. Coroner's investigators reportedly concluded that both men died nearly instantly, indicating that rescue from the subsequent fire wouldn't have saved them.
Walker, 40, was hanging out at a charity event with sometime racer and performance shop owner Rodas when the two decided to for a spin in the rare, recently acquired car.
Detectives are still looking for videos, photos and witnesses from that day: (661) 255-1121.