On Saturday, Nov. 30, a deadly car crash took the lives of actor Paul Walker and longtime friend Roger Rodas in Santa Clarita, California. The two were holding a charity event to raise money for people affected by the typhoon in the Philippines and to provide toys for kids who wouldn't have presents around the holidays, when Rodas asked Walker to take a spin in his red Porsche. Rodas allegedly lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a post. The car burst into flames, taking their lives. Investigators believe speed was a factor in the single-vehicle crash, but it is unknown what caused the very experienced Rodas to lose control of the vehicle.
Friends and family are mourning the loss of these two men, leaving flowers and memorabilia at the scene where the car crash occurred. Fans have cried the death of Walker, famous for "The Fast And The Furious" franchise, in which he plays Brian O'Conner, an LAPD officer turned FBI Agent turned street racer/fugitive, but few know who was the man behind the wheel in the deadly car crash. It turns out Roger Rodas was not your average man, he was a brilliant mind, extremely business savvy, passionate about cars and most importantly, a father and a husband. We've gathered up 7 fast facts about Rodas, this Latino who also lost his life tragically, along with his good friend Paul.
- 1) Rodas was born in Santa Ana, El Salvador, on October 31, 1975. He grew up in Hollywood, California, but lived in Valencia. He was married and had two young kids.
- 2) He met Paul Walker in the mid-2000's when the actor noticed his car, a Porsche GT3, which coincidentally was previously owned by him. The two guys bonded over their passion for car races.
- 3) Roger Rodas was a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch financial adviser. He had a degree in Finance from California State University and was a key factor in developing waste to energy power plants and wide farms in Central America.
- 4) In 2007, he became Walker's financial advisor, helping him keep his passion for cars and racing on a budget.
- 5) The two men created and co-owned the Always Evolving Performance Shop and the Always Evolving racing team. Rodas served as chief executive officer to the performance shop -- which is located in Santa Clarita, near the site of the fatal crash.
- 6) Rodas drove for the Always Evolving racing team, and finished second in the 2012 Porsche Drivers Cup Series. This year he competed in 10 GTS Series races, according to the Pirelli World Challenge organization.
- 7) Rodas was a committed philanthropist. He and Walker formed "Reach Out Worldwide" in 2010, a group of first responders who help people affected by natural disasters. They were holding the charity event Saturday. He had also created a foundation to support widows and orphans in his native El Salvador and was on the board of the Asomugha Foundation.