Fatal Accident Involving Paul Walker and Roger Rodas
Rest in Peace Paul Walker and Roger Rodas
By Nicole James
It rocked the Arizona car community when the news of Paul Walkers death along with his friend Roger Rodas had spread. Paul Walker was best known for his role in the ‘Fast and Furious’ movie series. The movies had a huge impact on creating and uniting small car communitiess all across the globe and making the lifestyle well known while contributing to what it is today.
There will be a Paul Walker memorial this Sunday, December 8th in LA. Sources say some of the cars Walker used in the Fast and Furious movies will be at the memorial service with an estimated 5000 people in attendance. Many Arizona car enthusiast will be going as a group on Saturday meeting at Westgate behind AMC at 2pm. Please click here for the Facebook event info.
The two friends died Saturday afternoon in a car crash and explosion after leaving a charity event. Sources say the accident happened in Santa Clarita, Walker was the passenger in a Porshe Carrera GT. When news spread that Walker was the passenger, speculation began along with a lot of negative comments that he died because he was not driving. However, the driver, Roger Rodas was a professional Race Car Driver. Rodas also died in the crash.
“The crash, which occurred about 3:30 p.m., was near the end of a charity event that the tuner and racing company they operated – Rodas was the CEO — Always Evolving, announced on the company’s website:
“Our next open house and car meet is November 30th from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We will have complimentary doughnuts and coffee. Please call ahead to confirm as we may need to cancel due to weather or track events. Please bring a new toy with you as this meet will be a charity toy drive! Thank you!”
According to a story in Wealth Management, the two met when Walker, at a track event, noticed that Rodas was driving a Porsche GT3 that Walker used to own. They ended up racing together at events like the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, but his schedule limited Walker’s racing mostly to time attack-type events at Buttonwillow or other California tracks.
Rodas, though, moved up through the ranks from Porsche-only series like the Pirelli Driver’s Cup, where he won twice in 2012, into the Pirelli World Challenge, leading a two-car Ford Mustang Boss 302S team, sponsored by Always Evolving and charities that he and Walker supported. Rodas raced car number 52; his co-driver, in car 75, was Erik Davis, owner of Autotopia, a massive, near-legendary car collection in Los Angeles that supplies cars for movie and TV productions.
Both rookies in the series, Rodas finished 13 in GTS points, Davis 16th, despite missing the races in St. Petersburg and Lime Rock. Had Rodas competed in those races, he almost certainly would have been the series rookie of the year. Rodas’ highest finish was fifth at Toronto, impressive since the GTS class has such veteran drivers as season champ Lawson Ashenbach, Jack Baldwin and Peter Cunningham. By sad coincidence, Rodas and Davis raced against another Mustang driver in the class, Roger Miller, who died unexpectedly at age 44 last August – Miller’s family owned the Utah Jazz and Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City.
Rodas, who turned 38 a month ago, and his Rodas Group company were well known in financial circles in California, largely through an enduring relationship with the investment firm Merrill Lynch. According to his biography, he was “instrumental in developing waste to energy power plants and wind farms in Central America,” and he was also owner of Cielo Recycling, a Central American recycling plant. He was ranked by Barron’s three years in a row as one of America’s top financial advisers.” Via Autoweek.
One of Walkers friends was one of the first on the scene and told the press from TMZ he received news the accident and rushed over to the scene with a fire extinguisher. As soon as they (Walkers friend and many of his employees) got to the accident, they rushed over and tried to extinguish the flames. The source said as he and many other risked their own lives to save the beloved actor and were reaching in the car to unbuckle Walker. The source said he actually grabbed hold of walker and tried to pull him out but everyone was pulling everyone away from the flame engulfed car. By the time the fire department had arrived the staff and friend of Walker had gone through seven fire extinguishers and had to be restrained from continuing to try and save Walker.
Law Enforcement officials has said to the press that speed clearly played a major factor in the accident, but an exact cause or explanation as to why the car burst into flames has not been determined.
Walker was 40 years old and has left behind his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow Walker, whom had recently moved in with him, as well as his 23 year-old-girlfriend.
Walker and Rodas were in Santa Clarita for a car show that had been organized by Walker and his charitable organization, Reach Out Worldwide, which was to support the victims of the Philippines typhoon relief effort.
There is now a swirl of speculation that in a video just seconds after the crash, a figure can be seen flailing and this is to be Walker trying to escape. Law enforcement sources told TMZ there is strong evidence that Walker and Rodas never got out of their seats, but when pressed could not conclusively say that Walker did not attempt an escape but were absolutely certain Rodas died on impact. The L.A. County Coroner’s Office says Walker died from both trauma from the crash and burn injuries, leading sources to believe Walker survived the initial impact of the crash and the fire is partially responsible for the actors death.
Since news broke of this horrific event, new stories have been surfaced about Walker and the many charitable things he has done.
For more information please see these credible sources:
Photos Courtesy of Autoweek and EOnline