Roger Rodas, veteran race car driver and the man behind the wheel during the horrific car crash that took his life and that of movie star Paul Walker, may not have been at fault. That’s according to his widow, Kristine Rodas, and her attorneys, who have filed a civil suit alleging that the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT her husband was driving ‘malfunctioned.’
On Nov 30th 2013, Walker and Rodas drove away from a charity event together but, according to the lawsuit, only made it a few hundred yards before something went terribly wrong. Video of the fiery crash went viral, leaving Walker’s many adoring friends and fans of the Fast & Furious franchise shocked and saddened over the actor's untimely and rather ironic death.
Kristine Rodas filed paperwork yesterday at the Los Angeles Superior Court alleging her husband was only driving at 55 mph at the time. Rodas's attorneys argue faults in the half a million dollar Porsche's design and suspension ultimately led to the fatal crash. Authorities, meanwhile, cited unsafe speed as the cause of the accident. Mrs. Rodas is suing for wrongful death and negligence.
The lawsuit states that evidence gathered at the scene indicates the right rear tire "suddenly steered to the left and caused the Porsche to begin a yaw clockwise to the right." Mr. Rodas then attempted to correct the vehicle and veered left but his efforts were not successful. The Porsche continued clockwise, climbed a concrete curb and swiped a tree with its right front corner - Paul Walker’s passenger side. The car moved past that first tree and continued to strike a light pole on the driver’s side but did not stop there. It sped further east down the road and hit a second tree, deploying airbags and spinning the car toward a third tree. This final impact on the passenger side was severe enough to break the Carrera GT into two pieces. It was then engulfed into flames.
Rodas and her attorney's contend that the 2005 Carrera GT model was "an altogether new model" for Porsche, designed to compete with other high end manufactures like Ferrari’s Enzo and Lamborghini’s Murcielago. The model "failed to have the proper crash protection which lead to the extreme and fatal consequences of the crash," the documents state.
The suit's paperwork argues that if Rodas's vehicle had a proper crash cage, "there would not have been intrusion into the passenger compartment, the fuel tank would not have been compromised or ruptured, and the vehicle would not have been broken in half." Rodas claims others within the Porsche community knew of this particular model's risks, citing a quote from former World Rally champion and Porsche test driver Walter Rohrl, who according to the lawsuit said "the Carrera GT has been the first car in my life that I drive and I feel scared.”
You can read through the civil litigation documents here. Kristine Rodas is seeking compensation for a wide variety of damages including grief, mental anguish, emotional distress, pain and suffering and burial expenses. Her team is requesting a jury trial. There's no indication Walker's family is involved in the litigation at this time. Fusion has reached out to Porsche for comment and will update accordingly.