Porsche blames driver in crash that killed actor Paul Walker

Paul Walker's death in November 2013 led to a temporary halt in production of Fast & Furious 7, the latest movie in the successful series about illegal street racing that helped popularise his career. -- PHOTO: UIP
Paul Walker's death in November 2013 led to a temporary halt in production of Fast & Furious 7, the latest movie in the successful series about illegal street racing that helped popularise his career. -- PHOTO: UIP

Detroit - The driver was to blame in the fiery crash of a Porsche sports car that killed actor Paul Walker in California in 2013, not design defects with the car, attorneys for the German automaker have said.

Walker, 40, was a passenger in a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT driven by Roger Rodas, who lost control of the vehicle before it careened into trees and a utility pole in Santa Clarita, northwest of Los Angeles, killing them both. Rodas' widow filed a lawsuit against Porsche's North American unit last year, alleging negligence and wrongful death among other claims.

Walker's death in November 2013 led to a temporary halt in production of Fast & Furious 7, the latest movie in the successful series about illegal street racing that helped popularise his career, opening tomorrow.

Last February, a judge dismissed some of the plaintiff's claims but said Porsche must face claims over whether the car was defectively designed and made.

Porsche's attorneys in their response on Monday laid the blame on Rodas.

"Roger Rodas' death, and all other injuries or damages claimed, were the result of Roger Rodas' own comparative fault," the attorneys said. Rodas "chose to conduct himself in a manner so as to expose himself and others to such perils, dangers and risks," they added.

The attorneys denied there were defects in the car, and said they believed the vehicle was "abused and altered" after being purchased in a way the company could not have foreseen and that could have been a factor in the accident.

In her lawsuit seeking unspecified damages, Rodas' widow alleged that a suspension failure occurred on the car. The authorities ruled the crash was caused by excessive speed and not a mechanical failure.

Meanwhile, Fast & Furious star Vin Diesel was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Daughter Hania Riley also joined him as the father of three laid his hands and feet in cement outside the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX on Wednesday.