San Diego attorney Craig McClellan says crash that killed Paul Walker could have been avoided

McClellan says Carrera GT lacks stabilizing system

SAN DIEGO - The fiery crash that killed "Fast & Furious" star Paul Walker may have been an "avoidable tragedy," according to a San Diego attorney.

Craig McClellan, who raced cars in the 1960s and 1970s, said he wouldn't be at all surprised if the investigation into Walker's crash was caused in part by the absence of an electronic stability control system in the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT driven by Walker's friend, Roger Rodas, who also died in the crash.

McClellan filed a lawsuit against Porsche and several others in 2006 after La Jolla businessman Corey Rudl died in a crash involving the same high-performance vehicle.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed on behalf of Rudl's widow, Tracy, claims the defendants were negligent and didn't inform Rudl of several potential problems before he got in the car that crashed into a retaining wall at the California Speedway.

The case was settled out of court for more than $4 million, but Porsche did not admit to any wrongdoing.

McClellan blames Rudl's death on the fact that the Carerra GT doesn't have an electronic stability control system, which uses a computer to automatically correct the vehicle before it goes out of control.

"I wouldn't be surprised at all to learn the absence of electronic stability control in this Porsche was a cause of the loss of lives of Paul Walker and Roger Rodas," said McClellan.

"It's a horrible tragedy and it's an unnecessary tragedy. It's something that was clearly foreseeable for Porsche," said McClellan. "When our lawsuit ended and that was settled, there was no question that more deaths were going to occur."

McClellan told 10News that starting with the 2012 model year, any new car sold in the U.S. must have electronic stability control.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates up to 10,000 lives per year could be saved with electronic stability control in all vehicles.

Investigators are still in the early stages of their probe of Walker's crash, and it has not been determined whether electronic stability controls would have made any difference in avoiding the crash.

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