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Speed, Not Mechanical Failure, to Blame for Paul Walker Crash

March 27, 2014

It was recently confirmed that mechanical failure was not to blame for the fiery car crash that killed “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker on November 30, 2013. Drugs, alcohol or racing also did not play a part in the accident.

Rather, it was excessive speed that ended the 40-year-old actor’s life.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department concluded that speed was to blame for the death of Walker and 38-year-old Roger Rodas, who was driving the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT.

“Investigators determined the cause of the fatal solo-vehicle collision was unsafe speed for the roadway conditions,” said Sheriff Commander Mike Parker.

According to the final report, the Carrera GT was going “between 80 and 93 mph at the time the car impacted a power pole and several trees.” The posted speed limit on the Santa Clarita, California, office park road were the crash occurred was 45 mph.

Drugs or alcohol as the cause was ruled out as Walker and Rodas did not have either in their blood. Both were also wearing seat belts when the crash happened. The airbags deployed as expected when the car hit the light pole as well as several trees.

It was initially believed that mechanical failure was the reason the Porsche crashed, causing the death of the two passengers. Some reports suggested that Rodas was driving at slow speeds and had encountered some kind of mechanical problem which caused him to lose control of the vehicle.

However, the investigators’ findings refute this. The report stated that there were “no pre-existing conditions that would have caused this collision.”

No mechanical fault was found with the car. During the investigation, Porsche sent out some of its engineers to help check if the Carrera GT had problems. The car was found to be without issues in its brakes and throttle, as well as its fuel, steering, suspension, electrical systems and other systems.

While there is no proof of mechanical malfunction, investigators learned that the tires on the car were nine years old and that these may have contributed to the crash. Tires on high-performance cars, even the low-mileage variety, are recommended to be replaced after six years.

According to the report, the Carrera GT also featured “an aftermarket exhaust system” which allowed the car to go faster. Porsche Cars North America confirmed this. “There is also evidence that this particular vehicle had been altered from its original design state and had not been maintained properly,” it said in a statement.

Many considered racing as maybe another factor in the fatal crash, but investigators did not find enough evidence to support this theory. Video captured by security cameras in nearby buildings proved that the Porsche was not involved in a speed contest prior to the crash.

“No eyewitness contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to say there was a second vehicle and there is no evidence to indicate there was a second car involved in the collision,” said the report.

The Porsche Carrera GT does not have a favorable reputation, mostly because of its ‘scary’ handling. Even professionals found the car difficult to drive. It was this kind of image that prompted many to think that the vehicle was somehow responsible for the death of the Walker and Rodas.

The Carrera GT involved in the accident had six owners in its life. The last of which was Always Evolving, the car racing shop owned by Rodas. It was one of the 38 cars the store offered for sale.

Photo credit: Sam Pullara/ Flickr/ CC BY

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