LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Autopsy results for “Fast & Furious” actor Paul Walker could be released as early as Tuesday, as medical examiners wait for dental records to formally identify the actor’s body, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner said on Monday.
Walker, 40, who became a symbol of street-racing and car culture in his roles in the “Fast & Furious” film franchise, was a passenger in a fiery one-car crash on Saturday in Santa Clarita, California, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
“We’re waiting for dental records,” county coroner spokesman Edward Winter said. “The bodies are unidentifiable.”
Media reports identified the driver of the red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that crashed into a utility pole and burst into flames as Roger Rodas, 38, a friend of Walker’s who owned Always Evolving, an auto dealership and racing services company in Santa Clarita.
“Evidently both individuals were seen getting into the vehicle minutes before the crash,” Winter said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigation has ruled out the possibility that Rodas and Walker were racing another car in the street after receiving a tip over the weekend about a second vehicle.
“That lead has been exhausted and determined that was not to be credible,” Sergeant Rich Pena said.
Walker and Rodas were both drivers for the Always Evolving racing team.
Neither the coroner’s office nor the sheriff’s department would confirm if Rodas was the driver of the car. Rodas also served as a financial adviser to Walker, said the actor’s spokeswoman, Ame Van Iden.
Sheriff Deputy Aura Sierra said the investigation into the crash, in which the department earlier said speed played a role, should take two more days.
Always Evolving posted a Twitter message thanking supporters while they “mourn the loss of our loved ones.” The company could not be reached by phone.
Walker, who played supporting roles in 1998’s “Pleasantville” and 1999’s “Varsity Blues,” was in five of the six “Fast & Furious” films about illegal street racing, heists and organized crime, portraying law enforcement officer Brian O’Conner.
Actor Vin Diesel, the main star in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, praised his late co-star in a statement on Facebook on Monday.
Diesel said he wished Walker could see the “profound impact” his life had on the world. Diesel went on to address Walker as “Brian,” the name of the late actor’s character in the “Fast and Furious” movies.
“I will always love you Brian, as the brother you were ... on and off screen,” Diesel wrote.
Production of “Fast & Furious 7,” which began filming in September, has been delayed but will not be scrapped, industry trade publication the Hollywood Reporter said, citing sources.
The publication reported that Comcast Corp-owned Universal Pictures, the big-budget film’s studio, and “Fast 7” director James Wan spoke on Sunday about how to continue with the film following Walker’s death.
A representative for Universal was not immediately available to comment on the status of the film, which is to be released on July 11.
The “Fast & Furious” franchise has grossed more than $2 billion at the global box office since its first film was released in 2001.
Walker stars in the Hurricane Katrina survival drama “Hours,” which will be released on December 13, and also the crime drama “Brick Mansions,” which is in post-production and will be released next year.
Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis, Editing by Mary Milliken and Bill Trott