- (Photo: Reuters/Nicky Loh)
Speed was a factor in the death of Paul Walker, actor and star of the "Fast & Furious" movie franchise, in Saturday's explosive car crash involving a Porsche, according to an official in Los Angeles, Calif.
The light pole that was knocked down by a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT carried a 45 mph speed limit sign, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office told CNN on Sunday.
The 40-year-old actor was in the passenger seat of the car that was being driven by a racing team partner. The car exploded after hitting the light pole in a business park in the Valencia neighborhood in Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Hollywood.
"It's with a heavy heart that we must confirm Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident...," read a tweet posted through his Twitter account on Saturday night. "Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide," noted the post.
Photos taken at the scene shows a mangled ball of metal. The driver, identified as Roger Rodas, CEO of the Always Evolving car race and tuner store, was also killed.
The car, known for its unusual red color and black wheels, is a difficult car to drive for even professionals, the Autoweek magazine said Sunday. The handling of the car with a V-10, 610-hp engine is "scary," a top driver told the magazine.
Rodas bought the car last spring, and used it often at car shows and in promotional ads, the magazine adds.
A witness who claimed to be Walker's friend narrated the incident. "Him and his buddy, his brother in arms at heart just decided to joyride, take a spin. Something we all do. We're all car enthusiasts. ... We're all here driving, enjoying each other, and God must've needed help," Antonio Holmes told The Santa Clarita Valley Signal.
"We all heard from our location (the accident). It's a little difficult to know what it was. Someone called it in and said it was a vehicle fire. We all ran around and jumped in cars and grabbed fire extinguishers and immediately went to the vehicle. It was engulfed in flames. There was nothing. They were trapped. Employees, friends of the shop. We tried. We tried. We went through fire extinguishers," said Holmes.
Walker, a non-denominational Christian, was raised up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but he graduated from Village Christian School in Sun Valley, Calif.
"I'm a Christian now. The things that drove me crazy growing up was how everyone works at fault-finding with different religions," Walker was quoted as saying by IMDb. "The people I don't understand are atheists. I go surfing and snow boarding and I'm always around nature. I look at everything and think, 'Who couldn't believe there's a God? Is all this a mistake?' It just blows me away."