At first glance, the accident looks like nothing more than a joy ride that got wildly out of control and ended in tragedy.
Driver Roger Rodas simply lost control of the 610 hp supercar as he came out of a sweeping right hand curve and began accelerating.
The car, known for its tricky handling because of its light weight-to-power ratio, went into a slide. Compounded by driver error–Rodas was unfamiliar with the car and had driven it little since buying it in 2005– it jumped a curb, struck a light pole and crashed into a tree.
The Accident Scene Yields Clues
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The car started burning almost immediately thereafter and was consumed in flames. Both Walker and Rodas were killed. But key elements of that scenario don’t quite add up, and that’s been enough to set off conspiracy theorists.
At the heart of the debate are two security camera videos taken from opposite ends of the crash scene. One camera, known as the TMZ video, was positioned to the front of the crash; the other, known as the TASC Security Camera video, was positioned behind the crash.
Neither shows actual images of the car, but both capture the crash, the smoke and the fire immediately afterward. A third video taken by a passerby from across the street, shows the car burning after the crash.
The contradictions arise because one video shows the car bursting into a raging fire almost immediately; the video from behind the crash shows the car smoldering for about 60 seconds before flames are visible. The passerby video shows the car already engulfed in flames.
Some conspiracy theorists claim the front video shows a projectile from the sky, hitting Walker’s vehicle, which then explodes into flames. A bight object appears to descend at an angle toward the ground just before smoke appears.
At first, smoke appears to billow toward the TMZ camera in front of the crash, while the camera behind the crash shows the smoke moving in the opposite direction. The contradiction supposedly suggest that the smoke is from the object exploding.
A second conspiracy theory revolves around whether the accident was caused by driver error or mechanical failure. Friends who know Rodas insist he was too skilled a driver to lose control of the car on a dry road with clear visibility.
That points to mechanical failure. But investigators have found no evidence so far of a sudden, massive fluid leak, possibly steering or brake fluid, that would have made the car difficult to control.
More extreme theories claim the car may have been sabotaged, although Rodas’ decision to take it for a spin and Walker’s decision to ride along appear to have been fairly spontaneous. To sabotage it, someone would have had to know beforehand they planned to drive the car.
Questions have also been raised about the car’s speed. It’s possible to get a rough approximation by judging the distance between the light pole and the tree and calculating how long it took the Porsche to strike one, then the other.
Using Google maps as a guide, about 30 feet appears to separate the two. Based on the TASC video, it looks like the car took less than half a second to strike one, then the other. Since, 30 feet per second equals about 20 mph, conservatively, the car was traveling between 40 mph and 50 mph when it crashed.
Some have claimed, however, that the car was travelling closer to 100 mph.
Whether these and other questions will ever been answered fully remains to be seen. But conspiracy theories are likely to linger for some time to come.
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