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Speed a factor in Paul Walker crash - police

Published: 6:02AM Monday December 02, 2013 Source: AP / BANG Showbiz

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of a fiery crash that killed Fast & Furious star Paul Walker, but say speed was a factor in the accident.

Paul, 40, who was in five of the six Fast and the Furious films about illegal street racing and heists, was killed when the red Porsche Carrera GT which he was a passenger in crashed into a lamppost and tree in California.

Paul and his friend Roger Rodas had been attending a charity event in Santa Clarita to raise funds for victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines and tornado in Indiana.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said speed was a factor in the one-car crash.

Sheriff's deputy Peter Gomez said investigators were working to determine how fast the car was travelling and what caused it to go out of control, including whether the driver was distracted or something in the road prompted him to swerve.

Sheriff's deputies found the car engulfed in flames when they arrived at the site of the crash, near the fundraiser at Rodas' sports car dealership.

The downed light pole had a speed limit sign of 45mph (73kph).

Fans of the actor have erected a makeshift memorial near the crash site, leaving flowers, candles and memorabilia from his action movies.

Paul is "gone but he'll never be forgotten because there are so many people that look up to him," Joel Perez, 23, told the Los Angeles Times at the memorial.

Girlfriend 'broken up'

Paul had been dating 23-year-old student Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell for seven years and she is being comforted by her mother, Julie, as she struggles to cope following the "horrible" accident.

Jasmine's uncle Barton Bruner told the MailOnline website: "Paul was a really good guy and Jasmine is broken up by this.

"They had their ups and downs but they were together and looking to spend a bright future together.

"This is horrible news and unexpected. Her mother is with her and she is comforting her."

The couple reportedly first got together when the Fast & Furious star was 33 and Jasmine was just 16.

Meanwhile a tribute allegedly posted by Paul's daughter, Meadow Rain, 15, who witnessed the crash, has been revealed to be a fake.

A source told TMZ.com that an imposter posted a photograph of them on Facebook with the caption: "When I was little he taught me to walk, taught me to smile, and taught me to never give up. I loved him even before I knew what love was. He was my hero. My REAL life hero! He will always be in my heart! It brings tears to my eyes as I write this. You're gone, but not forgotten! R.I.P dad"

Representatives of Paul's are reportedly working to have the page removed.

Paul had a brief relationship with Meadow's mother Rebecca McBrain and the teenager moved in with him recently after spending most of her childhood in Hawaii.

'Too distraught' to work

Production on the upcoming blockbuster Fast and the Furious 7, which began filming in September, is expected to be delayed, with Walker's co-stars "too distraught" to return to work.

One source said: "No one wants to even think about the movie. Period."

Other sources also told gossip website TMZ.com that Paul was scheduled to shoot key scenes for the film this week in Atlanta, Georgia.

The insider said that several members of the cast and crew, who were supposed to fly to Atlanta this weekend to resume filming tomorrow said they won't be returning to the set anytime soon as they are "too distraught" to work and expect the production will be halted.

Universal Studios, the company behind the film series, has yet to comment but sources said that this week's scenes all focused around Paul so the script will require some major rewrites.

Paul's co-stars Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Vin Diesel paid tribute to the late actor shortly after news of his death broke.

Dwayne tweeted: "All my strength, love & faith to the Walker family during this heart-breaking time. We find our strength.. in his light. Love you brother."

Meanwhile, Vin Diesel posted on Instagram: "Brother I will miss you very much. I am absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. Rest in Peace."

Crash witnesses describe horror scene

A witness says they "went through fire extinguishers" trying to put out the flames engulfing the wreck.

Antonio Holmes, who said he was a friend of Walker's, told the Santa Clarita Valley Signal he had heard the accident.

"Someone called it in and said it was a vehicle fire. We all ran around and jumped in cars and grabbed fire extinguishers and immediately went to the vehicle.

"It was engulfed in flames. There was nothing. They were trapped. Employees, friends of the shop. We tried. We tried. We went through fire extinguishers."

Alyssa Yorton told the Los Angeles Daily News: "When I went out there, it was just smoke. Just black smoke. I thought it was a bush fire."

Jim Torp, who attended the event and knew Mr Rodas, told People.com that he did not think he would have been driving dangerously.

"Roger was definitely behind the wheel. Roger slowly drove it out - he didn't take off recklessly. There were children around, after all. They were only gone for five or ten minutes and never came back.

"It was clear the car had hit two trees then finally hit a street lamppost. Parts of the car were strewn everywhere on the street, as far as 150 feet. I didn't see any skid marks. Where the car had crashed was on a long straightaway. How fast they were going, I don't know.

"Roger was not a reckless guy. He was a family man. He has a wife and two young children. He never did anything careless."

Deputies arriving at the scene found the vehicle engulfed in flames. The victims were pronounced dead at the scene, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Lt. John Rush of the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station said "it looks like speed could've been a factor, but we haven't made an official determination for the cause of the accident, which will take some time".

TMZ reports that post mortem examinations have been delayed as the coroner wants to wait on both sets of dental records before starting his examination to establish the cause of death.

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