Thousands memorialise Paul Walker at California car rally

Unusual public event held to remember Fast And Furious star and friend who died in car crash on Nov 30.

THOUSANDS of fans, some driving souped-up cars, converged in Southern California on Sunday at the site of actor Paul Walker’s death, paying tribute to the Fast And Furious star and a friend who were killed in a fiery crash two weeks ago.

The unusual public memorial took the form of a car rally, with drivers filing slowly past the spot in Santa Clarita, where Walker, 40, and Roger Rodas, 38, died on Nov 30.

Rodas, the owner of a local auto dealership and racing services company, was behind the wheel of a Porsche Carrera GT with Walker in the passenger seat when it crashed into a utility pole and burst into flames. Walker had been in Santa Clarita, about 40km north of Los Angeles, for a charity event.

The memorial, which was organised via social media, was scheduled for noon but Captain Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that mourners began arriving as early as 6am to pay their respects.

Fans sign a memorial board near the site of the fatal accident, on Dec 8, 2013. – EPA

Parker said that more than 1,000 cars drove past the site of the wreck, now marked by flowers and cards, and estimated that a total of 5,000 people took part in the event. He said some mourners had come from as far away as Texas, Arizona and Nevada, driving in caravans.

Some 5,000 people turned out to mourn the deaths of Walker and his friend at the fan memorial. – EPA

Walker became a symbol of street-racing and car culture in his role as law enforcement officer Brian O’Conner in the Fast And Furious series. The actor, who played supporting roles in 1998’s Pleasantville and 1999’s Varsity Blues, was in five of the six Fast And Furious films about illegal street racing, heists and organised crime.

Walker also starred in the Hurricane Katrina survival drama Hours, which will be released on Dec 13, and the crime drama Brick Mansions, which is in post-production and will be released next year. – Reuters

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