An 18-year-old accused of stealing a rooftop panel from the wrecked Porsche in the crash that killed “Fast and Furious” actor Paul Walker was in custody on Friday, Los Angeles sheriff’s officials said.
Jameson Witty was arrested at his home in Los Angeles on Thursday, and a second suspect was arranging to turn himself in, authorities said.
On the day of the Nov. 30 crash, someone using the Instagram service handle “jamesonwitty” posted photos of a portion of the roof of a red Porsche and wrote, “Piece of Paul walkers (sic) car, took it off a tow truck at a stop light.”
It was not immediately clear whether the photos were genuine, but sheriff’s deputies arrested Witty after searching his home.
Walker was a passenger in a fiery one-car crash in Santa Clarita, Calif., about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, that also killed 38-year-old driver Roger Rodas over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The 40-year-old actor, best known for his roles in the “Fast and Furious” action films, died from multiple injuries, the Los Angeles County coroner said on Wednesday.
The coroner said Walker’s death resulted from “traumatic and thermal injuries.” While the coroner did not elaborate, thermal injuries are heat-related and are commonly burns.
The crash prompted Universal Pictures this week to suspend production of the seventh installment in its lucrative car racing film franchise.
After the crash, rescue crews loaded the wrecked car onto a flat-bed tow truck. Several vehicles followed the truck as it left the scene for a tow-yard, where detectives planned to examine it for evidence of what happened in the accident, the sheriff’s department said.
When the truck stopped at a traffic light, a man got out of a car, ran up to the tow vehicle and grabbed a panel from the wrecked Porsche Carrera GT, a witness told investigators.
Deputies later found the red, T-top roof panel at a home in the Los Angeles suburb of Canyon Country.
The second man believed to be involved in the theft is a 25-year-old who was outside the state on Thursday but was making plans to turn himself in, deputies said.
Witty was booked on suspicion of felony grand theft and evidence tampering, with bail set at $20,000, deputies said.
Investigators are continuing to seek a cause for the one-car crash and results of toxicology tests are not expected for six to eight weeks.
A tribute to Walker scheduled for Sunday in Valencia, Calif., is expected to draw thousands of auto enthusiasts and fans who will participate in a memorial rally and car cruise.
Organizers are using Facebook to promote the gathering, which is expected to begin about 1 p.m. They expect about 6,000 people to attend the rally at the site of the fiery car crash.
Officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department are preparing for a large crowd, moving items placed at an informal memorial at the scene of the accident.
Nearby North Park Community Church is urging its members to consider parking Sunday farther from the church than usual because of the expected crowd. The church has also made arrangements for free coffee and water for people attending the event.
Distributed by MCT Information Services