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Area of Paul Walker fatal crash known for speeding cars

Employees of businesses in the area cite problem

Posted: December 2, 2013 8:32 p.m.
Updated: December 2, 2013 8:32 p.m.

Amanda Guirguis writes a memorial for actor Paul Walker on Monday at a memorial on the site where he was killed in a crash on Saturday. Signal photo by Charlie Kaijo

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SANTA CLARITA - Speed contributed to the death of “Fast and the Furious” actor Paul Walker and his friend, local businessman Roger Rodas, investigators have said, but those who work in the area of the crash said Monday speeding cars are commonplace there.

“I’ve been out of the office for a break sometimes, and I see cars go flying by,” said Steve Daugherty, who works at Hypercel Corporation, located near the crash site around Hercules Street and Kelly Johnson Parkway. “You can hear them go by during the day.”

Liz and Wally Caddow of Trinity Classical Academy on Kelly Johnson Parkway near the crash site also said speeding cars are a concern, especially since students walk throughout the area.

“It’s something we’re mindful of,” Wally Caddow said Monday, adding that he thinks Saturday’s incident was “horrible, just tragic.”

Rodas was driving a 2005 red Porsche Carrera GT and Walker was riding in it Saturday afternoon when the car crashed near Hercules Street and Kelly Johnson Parkway. The single-vehicle crash occurred near the end of a fundraising event being held at Rodas’ Valencia vehicle shop called Always Evolving.

Always Evolving is located on Constellation Road on a loop of roads that include Constellation, Hercules Street and Kelly Johnson. The loop is approximately a mile long.

The Porsche caught fire, and the victims were trapped inside, said witnesses who rushed to the scene from Always Evolving.

Sheriff’s Department officials said Monday the investigation was continuing but the Porsche was believed to be the only car involved.

Flying car part
Daugherty was working Saturday afternoon when the crash occurred and said wreckage from the car flew so far that it hit his work building more than 100 feet away, even sending a piece of debris through one of the building’s second-story windows.

Friends of Walker and Rodas said the two had a business relationship and Always Evolving, located around a block from the crash site, had held a charitable function Saturday to collect toys for children in the Philippines following the deadly typhoon that struck that nation. Walker attended the event to support the cause, they said.

The Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office has yet to identify the bodies officially, but Walker’s publicist confirmed the identity of Walker at the crash site, and numerous local residents who knew the pair said Rodas was the driver of the car.

Dozens of well-wishers and mourners for both Rodas and Walker continued to gather at the site of the crash Monday, adding personal effects to an impromptu roadside memorial already burgeoning with candles, signs and flowers.

Two lanes of the road near the crash were shut down to accommodate the crowd during the day, and on Monday night Sheriff’s Department officials temporarily shut down the roads in the area so a private memorial for family and production company associates could be held. Some 50 to 100 people were directed out of the area.

Deputies said Santa Clarita had issued a permit for the road closures. City spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said the city granted the request “because we felt it was the right thing to do.”

“We issued the temporary closure to enable the family and some of the co-stars to visit the site, at the family’s request,” Ortiz said Monday night.

Such requests are rare, Ortiz said, adding she could not recall the last time someone had made one.

Granada Hills resident Kristi Knight was a visitor to the site Monday and one of several who combed through brush near the crash for fragments of wreckage left behind.

Knight said she wanted to use what she found to craft something to memorialize the crash and emphasize the importance of road safety for her three sons.

“We came up last night to pay our respects,” she said as she scrutinized the ground.

The crash remained under investigation Monday, and investigators declined to speculate about the speed.

“Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station traffic investigators are continuing to document the investigation and have received eyewitness statements that the car involved was traveling alone at a high rate of speed,” reads a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “No eyewitness has contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to say there was a second vehicle.”

Anyone with additional information is urged to contact Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station traffic investigators at 661-255-1121.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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