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Fiery crash claims start of "Fast and Furious" franchise

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In what might be considered a very big bit of irony, the star of five of six high-octane of the “Fast and Furious” film series was killed in a car crash yesterday. The “Fast and Furious” franchise was about the high-speed, underground road-racing scene, the most recent of which, released in May, was very lucrative.

Paul Walker, who broke into acting in the mid-80s with a series of commercial appearances, according to the IMDb.com movie web site, started and was set to star in the next piece of the “Fast and Furious “ franchise, Universal's “Fast and Furious 7” was riding in a friend's Porsche, according to both the Associated Press and Sheriff's Office when the Porsche struck a pole and tree and burst into flames.

Nothing could be done

By the time help arrived at the scene, said the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office, both passengers in the Porsche were gone in the Santa Clarita, CA accident and nothing could be done..

The Associated Press said last night Walker, whose film, a taut drama, “Hours,” was set to debut this month. Walker's spokesman Ame Van Iden. Van Iden also released a brief statement yesterday in which he told the AP and the Chicago Tribune that “sadly I must confirm that Paul passed away today in a car accident.”

The 80s and 90s were busy times for the young actor with a series of commercials, a starring role in “Monster in the Closet” and role in the TV series “Throb,” IMDb.com noted. His most current movie work had included “Timeline,” “Into the Blue,” “The Lazarus Project” and the film which had been soon scheduled for released.

Owned franchise

Walker, though, just about owned the “Fast and Furious” franchise where he played a young police academy graduate who went underground to infiltrate and break up the street-racing-crime gang headed by Vin Diesel's character Dom Foretto. With the exception of one of the next five “Fast and Furious” films, Walker's Brian O'Connor played a major role, including going rogue from the FBI to help Foretto escape an unjust prison sentence. As noted by the AP, Chicago Tribune and The New York Daily News, Walker was working on “Fast and Furious 7” when the accident occurred yesterday.

The Daily News noted he was riding in the Porsche of a friend Roger Rodas. According to witnesses of the accident, the Porsche left the road flew into the pole and struck the tree which burned. Another friend, Antonio Holmes, and others tried to reach the crash site with fire extinguishers but were turned back by the fire and heat.

Walker leaves a 7-year-old daughter, Meadow. He also received an outpouring of grief and comment from the actors and friends with whom he played. Diesel, in a posted Instagram, said “Heaven has received another Angel.”

Second victim

The second victim was identified as Rogers Rodas, a part-time driver and adrenal junkie, said the Daily News, as was Walker, who loved the rush of driving fast. Rodas leaves two children, including an 8-year-old son who tried to rescue his father and friend.

Actors tried to get their arms around the event. They told The Daily News that they couldn't understand how Walker, who loved and lived by speed would have been taken the way he went, just down the street from Rodas' business, Always Evolving Performance Motors. Meantime, work is continuing on the movie.

Universal Studios, backers of the financially successful series, told The Daily News “they were heartbroken at the news...”

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