Photos by Jessica Boyer / Hometownstation.com
Fans continued to arrive Sunday at the scene of a crash in the Valenica Industrial Center that claimed the life of actor Paul Walker of the “Fast & Furious” movies.
Walker, 40, was the passenger in a red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT whose driver, unofficially identified as high-performance auto business owner Roger Rodas, reportedly rounded a curve too fast. The car struck a light pole and tree and burst into flames. Both men’s bodies were burned beyond recognition, a coroner’s official said.
“We smelled the smoke and then we didn’t pay much attention to it because of the fact that this street on Friday and Saturday nights, a lot of the guys come up here with their fast cars and drift around this corner here,” said Ruben Soto, who said he was nearby at the time of the crash.
Mourners congregated at the scene Saturday as word of the 3:30 p.m. crash began to circulate on the Internet. They continued to arrive Sunday, leaving behind flowers, personal messages and “Fast & Furious” DVDs and memorabilia.
Universal Studios released a statement Saturday evening mourning the loss of Walker.
“All of us at Universal are heartbroken,” the statement said. “Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us.”
Walker’s “Fast & Furious” co-star, Vin Diesel, shared a photo of the two on Instagram, writing, “Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace.”
Rapper Ludacris, who starred in several “Fast & Furious” movies, posted a photo of the cast appearing to give thanks before a meal and posted his own thoughts. “Your humble spirit was felt from the start,” he wrote. “Wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers & our birthdays are only 1 day apart, now You will forever hold a place in all of our hearts @paulwalker legacy will live on forever. R.I.P.”
Co-star Tyrese Gibson shared a photo of the two on Instagram and included his own heartfelt thoughts. “My heart is hurting so bad no one can make me believe this is real Father God I pray that you send clarity over this cause I just don’t understand. My heart hurts it’s broken no one can convince me that this is real…. Prayer warriors please pray real hard for his only child, his daughter and family..”
Walker is survived by his daughter, Meadow Rain Walker, who just turned 15.
A post on Walker’s Facebook page said the collision occurred after the actor attended a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide and that he was a passenger in a friend’s car at the time.
“We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news,” the post added.
Bill Townsend, CEO and founder of PacAirVentures, a developer of entertainment centers, posted a photo of himself taken with Walker just two hours before the accident.
“He was surrounded by friends, talking about cars, seeing hundreds of gifts brought for kids to give out by charity,” Townsend wrote on Walker’s Facebook page. “The news is terribly sad. The world lost an angel and Heaven gained one. I’m going to commit to helping ensure (that) Paul’s charity lives on and that his love of cars and people, especially children, will be remembered forever.”
Walker co-founded Reach Out Worldwide in 2010 to aid those affected by the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti and was working to help victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines.
“I’m a doer, and whether it was the tsunami in Sri Lanka or the earthquake in Indonesia, I was always saying, I should be there; I should be helping out,” Walker wrote on the organization’s site. “We’re only on the Earth for a short period of time. I want to take my success and parlay it into something bigger and better. As a father, my hope and goal is to help create a sustainable organization that will endure for the benefit of future generations. You put goodwill out there, it’s amazing what can be accomplished.”
“If speed one day kills me, don’t be sad because I was smiling,” Walker once said in an interview.
Walker-Rodas crash scene.