Family of man driving sports car that crashed and killed Paul Walker sues Porsche

The Associated Press
May 12, 2014 07:40 PM

FILE - This Nov. 30, 2013 file photo released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, shows the wreckage of a Porsche that crashed into a light pole in Valencia, Calif. Crash investigators have determined that the car carrying "Fast & Furious" star Paul Walker was traveling approximately 90 mph when it lost control on a city street and smashed into a light pole, killing the actor and his friend Roger Rodas. Kristine Rodas, the wife of Rodas, who was driving the car that crashed and killed him and Walker, sued Porsche in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday May 12, 2014, alleging the sports car malfunctioned and caused the accident. (AP Photo/Los Angeles County Sheriff, file)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The widow of the man who was driving a Porsche sports car that crashed and killed actor Paul Walker sued the automaker on Monday, claiming design flaws caused both men to die in a fiery crash in November.

The wrongful death lawsuit by Kristine M. Rodas says her husband was driving at 55 mph — not at unsafe speeds as law enforcement investigators determined — before it crashed last year. Roger W. Rodas was driving a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT capable of more than 200 mph, but his wife's lawsuit says the vehicle lacked a proper crash cage and safety features in the gas tank that would have saved both men's lives.

The lawsuit also contends that a failure in the car's suspension system forced it to careen out of control and strike three trees while driving down a street in Santa Clarita.

"The Carrera GT was unsafe for its intended use by reason of defects in its manufacture, design, testing, component and constituents, so that it would not safely serve its purpose," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Porsche Cars North America, which did not immediately return email messages seeking comment.

Kristine Rodas' attorney, Mark Geragos, said he hired the top experts in the country to evaluate the wreckage and crash. The results, he said, were an unbiased look at the accident that refutes an official investigation that determined the sports car was speeding at up to 94 mph when it crashed.

The results of an investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and California Highway Patrol was released in March and concluded that it was unsafe speed and not mechanical problems that caused the crash. That investigation was aided by engineers from Porsche, who evaluated the wreckage of the rare car.

The differing opinions on the crash will likely be a part of any trial over the lawsuit, which could take years to resolve.

Roger Rodas was trained as a race car driver, according to his wife's lawsuit. He left behind two young children upon his death.

Walker, the star of the "Fast & Furious" film franchise, co-owned an auto racing team with Rodas named Always Evolving.

Walker's death occurred on a break in the filming of "Fast & Furious 7," and the actor's two brothers are helping complete action scenes in the film. The film's release has been delayed until April 2015.


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