Coroner: Paul Walker’s Car Going 100-Plus MPH
LOS ANGELES (CNN) — The Porsche carrying “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker was speeding at more than 100 miles per hour when it crashed in November, killing the actor and a friend, according to the final coroner’s report on the deaths.
The 15-page report released Friday by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office answered several questions that had been the subject of speculation about how Walker and racing team partner Roger Rodas died.
The two men apparently did not live long after the high-performance 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, which was traveling at “approximately 100+ mph,” slammed into a light post and tree and burst into flames, the report said.
Walker, who shot to fame as star of the high-octane street racing franchise “Fast & Furious,” was in the passenger seat of the car driven by Rodas.
Walker, 40, and Rodas, 38, left a charity event at a car shop co-owned by the men to take a ride in an office park in the community of Valencia in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Hollywood. The crash happened a few hundred yards away on a wide street.
“For unknown reasons, the driver lost control of the vehicle, and the vehicle partially spun around, and began to travel in a southeast direction,” the coroner’s report said. “The vehicle then struck a sidewalk and the driver’s side of the vehicle struck a tree and then a light post. The force of those collisions caused the vehicle to spin 180 degrees, and it continued to travel in an easterly direction. The passenger side of the vehicle then struck a tree and the vehicle burst into flames.”
Video obtained by CNN from a security camera posted on a building on the opposite side of the street from the crash suggests that the fire that engulfed the Porsche did not erupt until about a minute after the car crashed.
In the video, which does not show the car, black smoke is seen rising from the crash scene 60 seconds after the light pole and a tree fall. Smoke is faintly visible above the scene after one minute, followed by a heavy plume of black smoke after two minutes.
The autopsy revealed “scant soot” in Walker’s trachea, suggesting his life ended before the smoke and fire engulfed the car.
The actor’s body was badly burned “and in a pugilistic stance. His right wrist was fractured and his left arm was fractured,” the report said. Rodas was also described as in “a pugilistic” — or defensive — position.
Walker suffered fractures of his left jawbone, collarbone, pelvis, ribs and spine, the report said.
Rodas “rapidly died of severe blunt head, neck and chest trauma,” the report said.
Investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department met with engineers from Porsche to analyze the data-retrieval system in the car’s computer, the department said last month. That system is used to shed light on the car’s speed, throttle opening, air bag deployment, seat belt use and, possibly, other information from the time of the crash.
The coroner’s report did not conclude whether the men were wearing seat belts.
Walker’s death came during a Thanksgiving break in filming of “Fast and Furious 7,” forcing a halt in the production. Universal Studios announced last month that the movie will be completed using scenes already filmed by Walker, but the release will be delayed from this summer until April 10, 2015.