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"Unsafe speed" key factor in Paul Walker's death

ANDREW DALTON

An investigation into the the death of Hollywood actor Paul Walker has revealed that the car he was in was travelling at 160 kph when it crashed.

Fast & Furious actor Paul Walker was killed in car crash in November. (Reuters)

The Porsche carrying "Fast & Furious" star Paul Walker may have been going 160 kilometres per hour or more before it crashed, killing both Walker and the driver, according to a coroner's report released on Friday.

Investigators found no mechanical problems with the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT or debris or other problems on the roadway. The street forms an approximately 1.6-kilometre loop amid industrial office parks and is rimmed by hills and isolated from traffic, especially on weekends. The downed light pole the car hit had a speed limit sign of 72 kph. The area in Santa Clarita is about 48 kilometres northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Roger Rodas, Walker's friend and financial adviser, was driving the Porsche at an unsafe speed, and witnesses interviewed by deputies estimated it was going 160 kph or more.

"Travelling at an unsafe speed"
No alcohol or drugs were detected in the system of either man on the day of the fiery one-car crash.

The November 30 deaths were ruled accidents and were due to combined traumatic and thermal injuries, the report said. It said both men were burned over 100% of their bodies.

Rodas had fourth-degree burns on his head and neck and severe skull fractures, the report said.

Walker had broken bones throughout his body including his jaw, arm, ribs and pelvis, it said.

The car slammed into a tree and a light pole on the driver's side then after spinning, hit a second tree on Walker's side of the car and caught fire.

The report says the red Porsche was travelling "at an unsafe speed, approximately 100+ mph," according to a deputy who took testimony from witnesses at the scene.

"For unknown reasons, the driver lost control of his vehicle," the report says.

Walker still to appear in film
The Sheriff's Department had previously cited speed as a factor in the crash, but had released no estimate of how fast the Porsche was going.

Sheriff's investigators are working with Porsche officials and the California Highway Patrol to determine the speed more exactly. Three data recorders survived the crash and fire and may produce information to pinpoint the speed.

Rodas(38) and Walker(40) co-owned an auto racing team. Rodas also was a professional driver who competed in 10 Pirelli World Challenge GTS races last year.

The accident occurred while Walker was on a break after shooting about half of Fast & Furious 7, whose release Universal Pictures has now delayed for almost a year to April 2015.

Walker still will appear in the film, though Universal has not said exactly how it will handle his unfinished performance.

Also Friday, two men pleaded not guilty to stealing a roof panel of the wrecked Porsche from the tow truck removing it from the accident scene.

Anthony Edward Janow (25) and James Brooks Witty(18) were each charged with felony counts of grand theft and misdemeanour counts of destroying evidence and resisting or obstructing a peace officer. They are due to return to court on February 25. –Sapa-AP

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