Autopsy planned for actor Paul Walker to determine exact cause of death

'Fast and Furious' star died in fiery LA car crash

VALENCIA, Calif. - Autopsies could be conducted Monday in an effort to positively identify and determine the exact cause of death of actor Paul Walker, a star of the "Fast and Furious" street racing films, and a friend reported to have been driving a red Porsche that hit a light pole and a tree and caught fire in Valencia, a coroner's lieutenant said.

Coroner's officials have contacted families requesting names of dentists for Walker, 40, and Roger Rodas, 38, said coroner's Lt. Joe Bale.

"We have the name of a dentist for the driver," Bale said. That was reported to have been Rodas, a co-owner of Always Evolving Performance, a Valencia-based dealer of specialty cars and auto products.

"Sometimes families supply dental records, sometimes we get them," he said.

In addition, autopsies could be conducted as early as today to determine whether each of the men died from blunt force trauma or the fire itself, Bale said as an investigation continued into the cause of the fiery single-vehicle crash.

Speed was a factor in the crash, which happened about 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the area of Kelly Johnson Parkway, Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Kim Manatt said. Media reports have put the crash on Hercules Street, a side street off the parkway.

Walker's survivors include his 15-year-old daughter, Meadow Rain.

News reports have identified the other victim as Rodas.

The two had just attended a charity car show and toy drive hosted by Always Evolving and had left just minutes before the crash, according to the Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper. Arriving deputies found the vehicle engulfed in flames, Manatt said.

Los Angeles County firefighters extinguished the blaze and found two victims inside the vehicle, pronouncing both dead at the scene, Manatt said.

"Speed was a factor in the solo vehicle collision," she said, adding that the car was a red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT.

The car hit a light pole and a tree and caught fire, according to news reports.

Antonio Holmes, who told the Signal he was a friend of Walker and Rodas, said several people at the dealership tried to rescue the two.

"We all ran around and jumped in cars and grabbed fire extinguishers and immediately went to the vehicle," Holmes told the Signal. "It was engulfed in flames. We tried. We tried."

Walker starred as undercover Los Angeles police detective Brian O'Conner in the 2001 film "The Fast and the Furious" and five of the six sequels, including the most recent "Fast & Furious 6," which was released in May and grossed close $240 million at North American box offices. "Fast & Furious 7" -- starring Walker, Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson -- was in the process of filming with a 2014 release expected, according to IMDb.com.

The news of Walker's death was confirmed on his Facebook page, which included a statement that the actor was a passenger in a friend's car when the crash occurred.

"It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today (Saturday) in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide. He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives," the statement said.

Several of Walker's "Fast & Furious" co-stars took to Twitter to express their shock and condolences.

"Brother, I will miss you very much," Vin Diesel posted. "I am absolutely speechless."

Johnson said, in part, "All my strength, love and faith to the Walker family during this heartbreaking time. Love you brother."

Walker was born in Glendale and appeared as a toddler in a Pampers commercial. He was raised in a traditional Mormon family in Sun Valley and graduated from Village Christian High School in 1991.

His other credits include "Takers," "Varsity Blues," "She's All That," "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Pleasantville" plus numerous TV guest appearances.

He appeared in three other films this year besides the "Fast & Furious" sequel and has another film, "Hours," about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, scheduled for release on Dec. 13, according to Variety.

A makeshift memorial of candles, flowers and memorabilia was growing at the crash site.

"I'm just glad that every time I saw him I told him I loved him, and he would say the same thing to me," Walker's grief-stricken father, Paul, told CBS2.

Watch the AP video below featuring images from Walker's crash site (mobile users: http://bit.ly/1bDPNkI):

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