In a final report released Friday (Dec. 3), the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office said the car was traveling at more than 100 mph when it crashed.
The 610-hp supercar came out of a sweeping right hand curve and began accelerating when Walker friend and business partner Paul Rodas, 38, who was driving, apparently lost control for unknown reasons, the report said. The car skidded, jumped a curb, struck a light pole and crashed into two trees.
The speed of the car sparked widespread speculation. The final report based its estimate on an examination of on-board monitoring systems by Porsche engineers. The car was ripped in half and burst into flames from the impact.
Walker, 40, had enough time to brace for the accident. His body was found in a defensive position with his hands in front of his face. He suffered fractures to his right wrist, left arm, his left jawbone, collarbone, pelvis, ribs and spine, the report said.
He died almost immediately because only trace amounts of soot were found in his trachea, indicating that he’d stopped breathing as the car was engulfed in flames. Rodas suffered a major skull fracture that exposed his brain and died instantly, the report said.
“For unknown reasons, the driver lost control of the vehicle, and the vehicle partially spun around,” the coroner’s report said.
“The vehicle then struck a sidewalk and the driver’s side of the vehicle struck a tree and then a light post. The force of those collisions caused the vehicle to spin 180 degrees.”
The report did not say what caused the fire. The gas tank in the car is located behind the passenger compartment, but oil lines also run along the side of the car from the engine to a cooler.
With speed and driver error cited in the crash, Porsche may be off the hook legally, although the victims’ families could raise an issue over design flaws that make the car inherently unstable, and therefore, unsafe to drive.
“Fast and Furious 7,” which Walker was filming when he died, will be finished. Walker’s character will be written out of the script, not killed off, according to reports. The film is now due in 2015.