Paul Walker fans gather at fatal crash site
Dozens of fans gathered in Valencia early Sunday at the site of a fiery car crash that left “Fast and Furious” actor Paul Walker and another man dead.
The smell of the burned Porsche still lingered in the morning air as fans set up a makeshift memorial at the crash site on Hercules Street, near Kelly Johnson Parkway. “Fast and Furious” memorabilia was placed alongside candles and flowers. One sign read, “Paul Walker Race in Heaven.”
George Ortiz, 56, of Valencia said he came to the site to pay tribute to one of his favorite actors. He said he’s seen all of Walker’s movies and that he reminded him of “a young Paul Newman.”
“His roles always suited him perfectly because he was such a diverse actor,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz placed a few DVDs at the memorial as he knelt to pay his respects. He said he was impressed by “what a great guy” Walker was and because he didn’t flaunt the charities he supported. Walker had attended an event earlier to aid Filipino victims of Typhoon Haiyan for his organization Reach Out Worldwide, formed in 2010 as a quick response first-aid organization.
“It’s tough knowing that he’s gone,” he said.
Joel Perez, 23, another fan who gathered at the site Sunday, said Walker’s “gone but he’ll never be forgotten because there are so many people that look up to him.”
Perez said he also wanted to pay respects to the other person, who has not officially been identified, killed in the accident.
“I wanted to say rest in peace too because he also has a family and no one’s family should have to go through that,” Perez said.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said speed may have been a factor in Saturday’s crash, which took place on a normally quiet street with a 45 mph speed limit at about 3 p.m.
Investigators on Sunday sought to sort out the circumstances of the single-vehicle crash. Walker was apparently the passenger in the red Porsche.
Witnesses said the car was fully engulfed in fire.
“When I went out there, it was just smoke. Just black smoke. I thought it was a brush fire,” Alyssa Yorton told the Los Angeles Daily News.
“It was engulfed in flames. There was nothing. They were trapped,” Antonio Holmes, who said he was a friend of Walker’s, told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal. He added the actor had been at a charity event earlier in the day.
Holmes said the Porsche appeared to hit a tree and then slam into a light standard.
KTLA News reported that debris from the crash shattered a window in a nearby building.
The single-vehicle crash occurred about 3:30 p.m. in the 28300 block of Rye Canyon Loop.
The cause of the crash is under investigation, sheriff’s Deputy Kim Manatt told The Times.
According to a statement posted on his Twitter account, Walker, 40, was attending a charity event to aid Filipino victims of Typhoon Haiyan for his organization Reach Out Worldwide, formed in 2010 as a quick-response first-aid organization.
“It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide,” the statement said. “He was a passenger in a friend’s car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news.”
Universal Pictures released a statement: “All of us at Universal are heartbroken. Paul was truly one of the most beloved and respected members of our studio family for 14 years, and this loss is devastating to us, to everyone involved with the ‘Fast and Furious’ films, and to countless fans. We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to Paul’s family.”
At the time of his death, Walker, who also starred in “Pleasantville” and “Varsity Blues,” was working on the seventh film of the “Fast and Furious” franchise.
There was a growing memorial at the crash site as people paid their respects.
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