Paul Walker's Death: 'Something Was Wrong' With Car Before Crash, Witness Tells THR (Exclusive)
A motorsport professional who attended Paul Walker's charity car show and toy drive on Saturday tells The Hollywood Reporter the drive that would be the star's last had an innocent beginning.
"As they were backing up the Carrera to put into the garage, it started stalling. I heard someone say, and I think it was Roger (Rodas, who reportedly was behind the wheel), ‘Why is the car stalling? Let’s take it around the block,' " the source tells THR. "Paul said, 'Let me go with you really quickly.' "
"The whole premise of taking the car out for a drive was because something was wrong."
The person, who wishes to remain anonymous out of respect for the family of the deceased, was attending the event at Always Evolving Performance Motors and said Walker and Rodas weren't likely out to test the limits of the Porsche Carrera GT, a car Autoweek called "scary" to handle.
"Roger wasn’t the kind of guy to go max speed on a small street, same thing with Paul. These guys have respect for the car and they wouldn’t do it like that," the source tells THR. "These guys are business owners and Paul was a celebrity. They are responsible people. It was more like, 'What the hell is wrong with this car? Let’s see what’s wrong and go for a drive.' These guys were more like, 'That’s weird, the car is stalling, let’s figure it out.' "
A few moments later, the scene at the Always Evolving shop, located in a business park in the Santa Clarita community of Valencia, changed markedly, the source says.
"Maybe five minutes later, a blue E46 BMW comes back in the lot and the guy was yelling, 'There’s been a crash, there’s been a crash'…I heard someone yell, 'Let’s get some fire extinguishers.' We all wanted to help. Three or four cars full of guys went to help with the fire," the source recalls. "We started driving up and when we got up to the crash, that’s when we knew it was the Carrera. Also, right as we pulled out the parking lot, we saw the fire trucks. They were on the scene really quickly."
The crash scene was grim, with the fire already burning when Walker's and Rodas' friends arrived at the site and began to try to battle the blaze.
"There were pieces of the car that flew into the parking lot next to the tree. Also, the front fascia of the building next to the crash was about three stories tall and made of glass. I looked up and saw the crash broke the window at the top of the building," the source says. "I thought, 'That must have been a sizeable crash.' "
A spokesperson for the L.A. County Coroner tells THR that the office has obtained dental records for the crash victims, and will begin autopsy examinations Tuesday morning.