Saturday marks the six-year anniversary of the deaths of Paul Walker and Roger Rodas, who died as a result of a fatal collision that occurred in Valencia.
Walker and Rodas were killed on Nov. 30, 2013, when the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT Rodas was driving crashed on Hercules Drive in Valencia.
“(Rodas) was driving a red Porsche Carrera GT at an unsafe speed, approximately 100+ mph, in the No. 1 eastbound lane on Hercules Street, approaching Constitution,” according to the Coroner’s report.
Walker was in Santa Clarita for a fundraising event for Reach Out WorldWide, the international nonprofit organization he established in 2010 to aid first responders during natural disasters.
“For unknown reasons, the driver lost control of his vehicle, and the vehicle partially spun around, and began traveling in a southeast direction,” the report read. “The vehicle then struck a curb, and the driver’s side of the vehicle struck a tree and then a light post.”
The force of the collision spun the car around again, causing the passenger’s side of the car to strike a tree. The vehicle then burst into flames, according to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, who were the investigators first on the scene.
Walker was born on Sept. 12, 1973, and had referred to himself as an “outdoorsman,” “ocean addict” and “adrenaline junkie” who did some acting on the side, according to his Twitter page.
An actor since 1985, Walker gained a reputation as a teen heartthrob after appearing in movies like “Varsity Blues” and “She’s All That” in 1999.
However, it wasn’t until 2001 when he was cast as undercover cop and street racer Brian O’Connor in “The Fast and the Furious” movie franchise that he would become internationally known.
Walker was in the middle of filming “Fast & Furious 7” when he was killed in the car crash in Santa Clarita.
The actor’s death didn’t kill his character, however, as VFX artists, with the help of Walker’s two brothers, created 350 shots to keep him on the screen for the remainder of the film, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film was retooled and released in 2015.
Walker’s affinity for cars and racing was not just limited to his on-screen roles. He loved racing in Southern California and had competed in several races, including the Redline Time Attack series in 2010.
In honor of this, several car shows have been held over the past six years in his memory.
One of those car shows, the “In Memory of Paul Car Hangout,” was the first event officially sanctioned by the Walker family, and brought hundreds of people together at College of the Canyons back in May.
“The SCV community sure came together after the crash and tried to help in any way possible — it was an act of love and compassion,” said Chris Lee, Santa Clarita-based entrepreneur and event organizer. “I see the Car Hangout as an extension of that, for this community to come together again and help the organization Paul left behind that does amazing things for people who cannot help themselves.”
Kristine Rodas-Callister, the wife of driver Roger Rodas, started a blog in the beginning of 2018 called “Surviving Death.”
“Grief is hard enough without the public and media making Roger out to be a villain,” Rodas-Callister said. “Please remember that his kids live in this community when writing or speaking about him.”
Rodas-Callister has used the blog to share her experiences going through the grieving process, as well as to encourage other people who may be going through their own.
“You and your kids can and will be okay if you do the ‘Grief Work,’” Kristine said. “There is hope for a normal life again.”
Looking back today, officials with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station point to the incident as an example of the deadly consequences of speeding.
“Speeding is not harmless fun and it doesn’t really save that much time,” said Sgt. Scott Shoemaker. “You run the risk of losing control of your own vehicle, or not being prepared when another vehicle should unexpectedly pull out in front of them, or there is a pedestrian near a roadway. Speed (limits) are there for a reason.”
Individuals who are pulled over for driving over 100 miles per hour also face a minimum $1,000 fine and a 30-day driver’s license suspension.
“Traffic collisions can result from speeding even when a driver is not under the influence of drugs and alcohol,” Shoemaker said. “If those factors are involved, plus speeding, it’s a recipe for a potentially deadly disaster.”Do you have a news tip? Call us at (661) 298-1220, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox. Report a typo or error, email Corrections@hometownstation.com
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