Walker autopsy underway; 'Fast & Furious 7' halted
Los Angeles • The movie studio that makes the "Fast & Furious" action franchise said Tuesday it was suspending production of the latest installment, while authorities pressed ahead with their investigation into how Paul Walker died.
The Los Angeles County coroner's office said autopsies were underway on the two bodies recovered from the fiery crash of a Porsche that Walker, a star of the mega-hit movies, and his friend were last seen riding in.
Walker's publicist has said the actor was the passenger when Roger Rodas' Porsche Carrera GT crashed into a light pole and tree, then exploded in flames Saturday.
The families of both men have provided dental records, which will permit not only formal identification of the bodies, but also official word on whether Walker or Rodas was behind the wheel.
Walker starred in all but one of the six "Fast & Furious" blockbusters. He had been on break from shooting the latest installment; Universal Pictures said Tuesday that production of "Fast & Furious 7" is on hold. A spokesman declined to say when shooting would resume.
A large portion of the film has been shot, but it is not yet complete. It's scheduled for release in July. Universal Pictures has not announced how it will adjust the movie or handle Walker's unfinished performance.
While the neighborhood where the crash happened is known to attract street racers, law enforcement officials do not believe the Porsche had been racing another car.
Accident investigators "have received eyewitness statements that the car involved was traveling alone at a high rate of speed," the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. "No eyewitness has contacted the (department) to say there was a second vehicle."
Hindering the accident investigation has been the crowds of fans that flocked to the crash site to leave flowers, candles and memorabilia from the action films.
On Saturday afternoon, Walker and Rodas took what they said would be a brief drive away from a charity fundraiser and toy drive at Rodas' custom car shop.
The crash happened on a street that forms an approximately 1-mile loop amid industrial office parks. It is rimmed by hills and relatively isolated from traffic, especially on weekends when the businesses are closed.
While Rodas was Walker's financial adviser, the two had bonded over their shared love of fast cars. They co-owned an auto racing team named after Rodas' shop, Always Evolving, and Rodas drove professionally on the team in the Pirelli World Challenge circuit in 2013.
On Monday night, a private memorial for survivors and the cast and crew of the "Fast & Furious" movies was held inside a white tent erected around the site. When it was over, Walker's co-star Vin Diesel thanked fans for "coming and showing that angel up in heaven how much you appreciated him."
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