Paul Walker's Death: Thousands Mourn the Late Actor at Sunday Memorial
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies directed heavy traffic on Sunday as mourners, both on foot and in their vehicles, passed by the crash site where Fast & Furious actor Paul Walker, 40, and friend Roger Rodas, 38, were killed Nov. 30.
Attendees made a small trek, nearly 20 minutes uphill, to the site of the fiery car crash in Valencia, Calif., while a parade of tuned-up cars rode alongside. Onlookers stopped and took pictures of the custom hot rods that varied in make and model and included everything from Lamborghinis to a superpowered VW Bus with an intricate hydraulics system.
The site was littered with flowers, candles, stuffed animals and notes from fans across the globe. One fan told The Hollywood Reporter that Walker "was so much more than just an actor from the [Fast & Furious] movies" but that he "really was the face of California car culture."
On Nov. 30, Walker and Rodas decided to go for a ride in a 600-horsepower 2005 Porsche Carrera GT after attending a charity event for Reach Out Worldwide, a nonprofit organization started by Walker that assists the victims of natural disasters.
According to the coroner's report, the two men died after sustaining multiple traumatic injuries when the car, driven by Rodas, crashed into a pole and a tree on Hercules Street near Kelly Johnson Parkway.
Members of the NorthPark Community Church, which is located down the street from the crash site, were at the memorial, offering coffee, water and hot chocolate to the event's attendees. Rodas co-owned a custom auto shop with Walker that was located behind the church called Always Evolving, the location where last weekend's charity event was held.
"We just decided that this was a community event, and we needed to participate and be a good neighbor and show our support to the fans and families," said NorthPark pastor Bob Hudson.
Housed in the church's parking lot was a large banner where fans could leave their well wishes and pay homage to the late actor. Also on hand were several cars from the Fast and Furious films, including a Ford Skyline that Walker drove in the fourth installment of the street-racing franchise.
Sunday's unofficial tribute was fan-made, having originated from a series of Facebook events that were all meant to honor the late actor and Rodas. Justin Moore, one of the memorial's organizers, had been there since the early morning, preparing for the event that was set to run from noon until around 5 p.m.
"Just like Paul Walker reached out to millions of hearts in America, we are trying to help fans reach out to him and his organization," said Moore. "He has created a car community bigger than any could have ever imagined."
Rodas' and Walker's deaths have been ruled accidents, but investigators are still trying to determine exactly what caused the crash and whether there was a possible mechanical failure, causing Rodas to lose control. The results of toxicology tests are not expected for six to eight weeks.
Walker was on a break from filming the seventh installment in the Fast & Furious franchise when he died. Universal Pictures has shut down production while it considers how it might go forward without him.