Paul Walker’s tragic death on Saturday, November 30 shocked fans and left Hollywood stunned by the loss. The actor, best known for portraying Brian O’Conner in the Fast and Furious franchise, was just 40 years old when he and business partner Roger Rodas were killed after Rodas’s Porche Carrera GT struck a tree and burst into flames in Santa Clarita, California.
While authorities are still investigating the fatal accident, Wetpaint Entertainment is piecing together Paul’s final ride and the shocking developments that have been made since the tragedy.
Saturday, November 30
3 p.m. PT: Paul Walker attends a charity event for this foundation, Reach Out WorldWide. He is reportedly joined by long-time friends and family, including his 15-year-old daughter Meadow. The event is held at Always Evolving, an exotic car shop co-owned by Paul and his friend Roger Rodas, 38.
An Always Evolving employee notices that Rodas’s $500,000 Porche Carrera GT is having stalling problems, so Rodas decides to take the car for a spin to test it out. At that moment, Paul hops in the passenger seat, reports TMZ. “Paul came up and said he hadn't driven in the Porsche yet, so he jumped in the passenger seat and they took a 20 minute drive.”
3:30 p.m. PT: Rodas reportedly lost control of the red sports car, and it flew off the road and slammed into a tree, only several hundred yards away from Always Evolving. Eyewitnesses at the event remember hearing a loud explosion, and several people rushed to the scene with fire extinguishers.
Rodas’s eight-year-old son was one of the first people at the site of the accident, reports The New York Daily News. Eyewitness Jim Thorp told the paper, “His son had jumped the fence and gone over, he was trying to get his dad out.”
“It was engulfed in flames,” Antonio Holmes, a friend of Walker’s who raced to the scene after hearing about the crash, told TMZ of the crash site. “There was nothing. They were trapped.” Antonio also recalled how one of Paul’s closest friends, named Newt, attempted to pull Paul out of the burning wreck.
Shortly after, firefighters arrive to put out the flames. Several of Paul’s friends are put in squad cars for their frantic behavior at the scene. Paul and Roger are pronounced dead at the scene. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirms that "speed was a factor in the solo vehicle collision."
5:50 p.m. PT: TMZ publishes their report of Paul’s death. The headline reads, “Paul Walker Dead at 40 in Fiery Car Crash.”
7:14 p.m PT: Always Evolving confirms the devastating news with a Facebook post, reports The Wrap. Hollywood mourns the loss of Paul as many celebrities take to social media to share their grief. Several of Paul’s Fast and Furious co-stars also take to Twitter to mourn, while Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez remain silent, still too grief-stricken to make a statement.
10:10 p.m. PT: Buzzfeed reports Fast and Furious 7 is still in production, and is slated for release on July 11, 2014, but Paul’s tragic death places the future of the popular franchise in limbo.
Sunday, December 1
9:15 a.m. PT: The LA County Coroner’s office still hasn’t identified the victims – the bodies were so badly burned that dental records have been sent for, reports TMZ.
11 a.m. PT: Paul's long-time girlfriend Jasmine Pilchard-Gosnell, 23, is devastated, reports The Daily Mail.
5 p.m. PT: Paul’s Fast and Furious co-star Tyrese Gibson arrives at the scene of the crash to mourn. The actor breaks down in tears while visiting the memorial site. He later Instagrammed a photo holding debris from the crash site.
He captioned the photo: “I will keep your energy with me forever #AshesOfAnAngel fast family around the world we live you and we love you Paul is the heartbeat of this franchise and were gonna see to it that his energy and presence lives on forever #myhearthurtssobad.”
Monday, December 2
4:38 p.m. PT: Paul’s Fast and Furious co-star Michelle Rodriguez tweets, “I'm gonna carry this torch for you brother, with a forced smile on my face and I’m gonna open my heart just cause your telling me to,”
9 p.m. PT: Vin Diesel breaks his silence. The actor took to Facebook to mourn for the death of his close friend and co-star, posting a photo of the two laughing together with a heartfelt caption. He began with a quote from poet Thomas Campbell: "To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die." He then continued with his own words: Pablo, I wish you could see the world right now... and the profound impact, your full life has had on it, on Us... on me… I will always love you Brian, as the brother you were... on and off screen.”
Vin later visits Paul’s memorial site in Santa Clarita, and addresses the crowd using the public address system of a sheriff's department patrol car. "If my brother were here today. And if he saw all the love you were bringing here. If he could see for himself that [you have] shown my brother love.”
Tuesday, December 3
12 p.m. PT: Paul's team releases a statement on his official Facebook page denouncing all reports that Paul's 15-year-old daughter Meadow was at the scene of the accident. "It is unfortunate that claims are being made to the media that Paul’s daughter Meadow was at the event on Saturday when the accident occurred," it said. "We want to clarify that Paul went to the event alone. Meadow was not at the charity event on Saturday and thankfully, did not witness the accident. Any claims stating otherwise are inaccurate."
2:30 p.m. PT: The coroner's office completes the autopsy reports, but they are placed on a “security hold," which stated, “No information is to be released on either decedent at this time.” This hold is a routine procedure "as a precaution to prevent information being released that had not been confirmed and to allow all media outlets that have requested notification the same opportunity at whatever information is released," Chief Coroner Craig Harvey explaines to E! News.
"These types of cases present real challenges to our staff and we get one chance to get it right," he added. "There are a series of checks and balances we follow so that our work product is rock solid. We owe that to the families we serve and I know the media wants accurate information."
4:20 p.m. PT: Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley announces that "part of the proceeds" from all DVD sales of the Fast & The Furious 6 will benefit Paul's charity Reach Out Worldwide, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The DVD will go on sale on Blu-ray, DVD, digital and on-demand on Dec. 10.
Wednesday, December 4
10 a.m. PT: The Los Angeles County coroner releases Paul and Roger's official causes of death. Roger, who was driving the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT on November 30, died of multiple traumatic injuries and Paul died of the combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries, according to a CNN report. Roger and Paul's deaths were determined to be accidental. The two men died “within seconds,” coroner Ed Winter says, according to the Los Angeles Times. Toxicology results are pending and may not be released for six to eight weeks.
4 p.m. PT: Universal releases "A Tribute to Paul Walker" video on YouTube. The two-minute video highlights Paul's role as Brian O'Conner in the Fast and Furious franchise and the familial bond of its cast.