LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Design defects of a Porsche sports car caused the crash that killed actor Paul Walker, the widow of the car’s driver said in a lawsuit against the automaker, alleging negligence and wrongful death among other claims.
Kristine Rodas says in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday that a suspension failure of the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT led to her late husband losing control of the vehicle before it careened into trees and a utility pole killing Walker and driver Roger Rodas last November.
Walker’s death at age 40 led to a temporary halt in production of “Fast & Furious 7,” the successful movie series about illegal street racing that helped popularize his career.
Rodas’ attorney, citing expert inspections of the crash, say in the lawsuit that Roger Rodas, an experienced race car driver, was traveling at 55 miles per hour (89 km per hour) on a street in Santa Clarita, California, at the time of the crash, below the speed Los Angeles County Sheriff investigators said.
Authorities ruled the crash was caused by excessive speed and not a mechanical failure. The investigation found Rodas was traveling at speeds of 80 to 93 mph (129 to 150 kph) which caused him to lose control of the car in a 45-mph (72-kph) zone.
The suit asks for unspecified damages from Porsche Cars North America, which is owned by Volkswagen AG.
“We’re very sorry for the Rodas and Walker families’ loss,” company spokesman Nick Twork said. “The crash was the subject of a detailed of investigation of the proper authorities ... and their investigation disproves the allegations in the lawsuit.”
Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker