When Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas died in a fiery car crash, a lot of people just assumed it was sad but apt for a guy who’d made a career and a handful of friends like Rodas from a movie about street racing called “The Fast and the Furious.” But now, Rodas’s widow, Kristine Rodas, alleges in a lawsuit that it wasn’t speed that was to blame for the crash at all, but a faulty suspension on the Porsche Carrera GT they were driving. The suit contradicts police reports that speed was a major factor in the crash.
[The suit against Porsche alleges] that faults with the design and suspension led to the fatal crash.
The suit alleges that the $500,000 vehicle was going just 55 mph on Nov. 30, 2013, when it “malfunctioned” and crashed, wrote attorney Mark Geragos.
Geragos, of course, is one of the most high-profile attorneys in the country, having represented Scott Peterson, Gary Condit, Scott Peterson, Winona Ryder, Chris Brown, and David Carradine’s family, among many others. (How many of those actually went well for his clients?)
Lawsuit contradicts a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s report that found the sports car was traveling at an unsafe speed of more than 90 mph along a road in a Santa Clarita business park.
The lawsuit contends that the right rear tire suddenly steered to the left and that despite the efforts of Rodas, a veteran race car driver, the vehicle continued a clockwise movement before climbing the curb, swiping a tree and then hitting a light pole and a second tree.
The car then hit a third tree on the passenger side, causing the vehicle to split and catch fire.
Geragos alleges the car’s suspension system forced it to careen out of control. The lightweight construction in the 605-horsepower vehicle described by Porsche as “close to a race car as we will ever get” lacked a proper crash cage and safety features in the gas tank that would have saved Rodas and Walker, Geragos wrote in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit. [LATimes]
Why do I feel like Rodas and Walker would’ve been some of the first to complain about having to add weight to a racecar with extra safety features?
This isn’t the first time Porsche has been sued over the Carrera GT. In 2006, the company contributed to a $4.5 million settlement when a driver and passenger died in a track accident. The driver swerved to avoid a slow-moving Ferrari, lost control, and struck a concrete barrier. The passenger’s widow sued the driver’s estate, the track, and Porsche. The three parties settled without admitting wrongdoing. [RoadandTrack]
I’m not a car scientist, so I can’t tell you whether this suit is valid, or just the survivors of a tragedy trying to make sense of a senseless accident. I’m just thankful that there are people like Mark Geragos out there looking out for the safety of people driving $500,000 cars.