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UPDATE: Strong law-enforcement presence keeps traffic moving during Paul Walker-Roger Rodas memorial

Posted: December 8, 2013 11:00 p.m.
Updated: December 8, 2013 11:00 p.m.

California Highway Patrol officers helped direct traffic Sunday as car enthusiasts arrived for the Paul Walker-Roger Rodas memorial at the scene where the two died Nov. 30 in a fiery crash.

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Sheriff’s Department officials called in deputies from throughout the county Sunday for the Paul Walker-Roger Rodas memorial, which drew some 6,000 to a business park in Valencia.

“Everything we expected to happen did happen,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Mike Parker, who was still at the scene of the event in the Rye Canyon Business Park at 4 p.m., an hour from the memorial’s official closing time.

Pasadena police and California Highway Patrol officers were also among the law enforcement officers who helped with traffic enforcement and crowd control Sunday, turning two-way streets one direction in the morning, enforcing both traffic laws and parking restrictions, directing traffic and patrolling the area.

More than 5,000 memorial attendees were expected from at least five different counties and at least three states: Texas, Nevada and Arizona, Parker said. An estimated 6,000 showed up.

“We learned early in the week that a considerable number of people were planning on coming here, with 13 Facebook accounts notifying people about the event,” he said. “They planned to caravan here.”

“Traffic has been intense,” Parker said. “But no one has been hurt.”

Sheriff’s deputies arrested only one person at Sunday’s event, said Lt. Tom Bryski of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. Kyle Roberts, 29, of Arizona, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a loaded firearm in public, he said.

At least half a dozen vehicles were towed away and 40 parking citations issued, he said. “For every citation there were a hundred times more warnings issued.”

Walker of “Fast & Furious” fame and his friend and financial consultant, Valencia businessman Roger Rodas, were killed Nov. 30 in a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that slammed into a light post and tree on the streets that form a loop through the Valencia business park.

Since just hours after the crash, Walker fans and others have flocked to the location, culminating in the potential traffic nightmare Sunday.

By midday Sunday traffic was jammed on Interstate 5 near Newhall Ranch Road, and Caltrans was putting up traffic advisories on freeway signs warning drivers of delays, a California Highway Patrol spokeswoman said.

At one point traffic backed up for miles, the Sheriff’s Department said on its Twitter feed, adding that some illegally parked cars had to be towed.

The deputies set up a command post at a nearby high school, but there were no immediate reports of any other problems.

Although the event was scheduled to last until 5 p.m., by 4 p.m. much of the crowd had dispersed, encouraged to leave by temperatures that were sinking rapidly toward the 30s.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

jholt@signalscv.com
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