Authorities confirmed that they're looking into the possibility that the car Paul Walker died in Saturday was involved in a street race before it crashed, but they say that's just one of many facets of their inquiry into the fatal collision.
L.A. County Sheriff's Sgt. Richard Pena and a Santa Clarita Valley sergeant both told the Weekly that street racing was being investigated.
But, Pena says:
They're investigating all avenues of what could have happened. Mechanical. Street race. Somebody cut them off.
“Yeah, we're investigating that” [racing] — among many things, the Santa Clarita sergeant told us.
The department issued a statement this afternoon denying that anyone has come forward to describe a second vehicle being involved in the wreck:
No eyewitness has contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to say there was a second vehicle.
TMZ today says that cops “received tips” that driver Roger Rodas might have been in the midst of a street race when the Porsche Carrera GT he and Walker were in crashed about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, ending up as a charred hulk with two bodies inside.
The site says the Valencia street where it happened, Rye Canyon Loop, is known for street racing. (The sheriff's department this afternoon said Hercules Street at Kelly Johnson Parkway is the more specific location.)
However, the local sergeant we talked to said he has not known that to be the case in his 24 years on the job in the area.
The sheriff's department described its investigation in a statement:
Investigators document the scene extensively which includes writing a traffic report, photographing the scene, determining the collision's Area of Impact and Area of Rest, measuring skid marks and location of debris, gathering physical evidence such as debris and the on-board car computer data that might indicate the rate of speed, and examining the car itself to look for evidence such as paint transfer to help determine if it had impacted other objects or cars.
The crash took place in a 45-mile-per-hour zone, cops said. Witnesses were still being sought, the department stated.
Walker, 40, was spending the day at a charity event and toy drive when he decided to take a spin with friend Rodas, a reported business partner whose performance car shop, Always Evolving, apparently just acquired the rare Porsche.
[Added at 2:04 p.m.]: This security video obtained by TMZ shows some of the crash. The only other car is the one
— it appears to us to be a Honda Civic — driven by two young men heard in another video, below. Unless the Civic's driver from the video was trying to race a Carrera GT, there appears to have been no other vehicles involved in the wreck.
[On second glance the video car could be a modified-looking BMW M3, but we can't tell for sure].
[Added at 2:24 p.m.]: Sheriff's Sgt. Pena says he's not sure if the guys from the video have been interviewed but he said “that would certainly be on the top of a long list of things to do” for detectives.
[Added at 3:06 p.m.]: The sheriff's department also states:
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.