Paul Walker died after the speeding Porsche in which he was riding hydroplaned on reflective plastic markers in the street ... at least that's what his family and accident reconstruction experts believe.
Sources close to Paul's family tell TMZ ... the family has been in touch with stunt experts who have gone to the crash site and come back with what they believe is a solid theory -- a speeding car that hits the plastic markers -- called Botts' Dots -- will hydroplane, causing the driver to lose control.
We've learned the experts have told the family ... a car going speeds approaching 90 MPH will lose traction after hitting a series of Botts' Dots. It's akin to driving on ice -- and control is further compromised by the fact that the Porsche was outfitted with special racing tires that have very little tread.
And there's this ... Porsche sent out a memo to dealers back in 2004, warning about control problems with the Carrera GT, saying, "This vehicle cannot drive over a Foster Beer can that is lying on its side. It will crush the can and damage the carbon fiber under panels," adding, "You need to be aware of what type of road surface you are on (dips, pot holes, seam heights, etc.)."
Law enforcement sources say they have not concluded the exact cause of the accident, but it appears they're looking at the Botts' Dots ... as a viable theory for triggering the fatal crash.
Injury Won't Keep Me from Shooting 'Entourage' Flick
12/11/2013 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Kevin Dillon tells TMZ ... the "Entourage" movie will finally begin shooting in January -- and he won't let a little thing like a BROKEN WRIST keep him from doing his job
Dillon -- who was doing some shopping in Malibu last week -- wouldn't say HOW he jacked up his wrist, but explained that it's not the first time he's suffered the injury.
There was one more thing ... we asked Kev about his truck, the one that embarrassingly broke down on him (in front of our camera) the last time we shot him out ... and he dropped an interesting fact about an unlikely HERO who saved the day. Check out the clip.
Laughing & Smiling
Minutes Before Fatal Crash [PHOTOS]
12/10/2013 12:32 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker was in a great mood just moments before his fatal Porsche accident -- laughing and smiling in the passenger seat of the car that killed him.
The photos were shot as Paul and driver Roger Rodas were leaving the Santa Clarita charity car show that Walker had organized.
It's a jarring look into the final moments of the actor's life -- especially the juxtaposition of the gleaming red sports car ... and the fiery wreck it became just minutes later.
Paul Walker Wanted
To Help My Son Prevent Street Racing
12/10/2013 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker knew damn well how dangerous it is to race high-performance cars on the road ... because he was about to join the fight to stop illegal street racing ... this according to Hulk Hogan's ex-wife.
Linda Hogan was in Thousand Oaks, CA last week when she told us Paul and her son, Nick Hogan, bonded over their love of race cars ... and says they had big plans.
After Nick's infamous street racing accident in 2007, he started a charity called "Keep it On the Track" -- and Linda says Paul was going to team up with Nick to spread the word about keeping high-performance race cars ON designated race tracks, and OFF streets.
Paul and Nick also had something fun in the works -- watch the clip, Linda says it was all about "their toys."
Paul Walker Death
Alleged Wreckage Thieves Charged with FELONY
12/9/2013 2:57 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The law has come down hard on the guys who allegedly pillaged the Paul Walker crash scene ... they've been charged with 3 crimes.
18-year-old Jameson Witty was caught on video stealing the T-top roof of the Porsche right off the tow truck ... and, as if that wasn't enough of a smoking gun ... he then bragged about the heist by posting pics of the stolen wreckage on Instagram.
The L.A. County District Attorney has just charged Witty and his alleged accomplice, Anthony Janow, with felony grand theft, along with 2 misdemeanors -- destroying evidence and resisting, obstructing and delaying a peace officer.
If convicted, the 2 men face up to 4 years and 6 months behind bars.
Fans Rally in Droves
No Rubber Burned
12/9/2013 12:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker fans came out by the thousands this weekend for a car rally in his honor ... and to show off their bad ass cars.
The event was held near the site where Paul died ... and the whole thing went off without a hitch.
As we previously reported ... cops were worried the tribute might influence people to drive recklessly -- but instead the fans gathered peacefully, and signed a huge mural for Paul ... and checked out each other's cars.
Check out the gallery for the cream of the auto-crop.
Paul Walker Crash
Music Mogul Dumped Similar Porsche
'It Was Just Too Fast'
12/8/2013 12:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The Porsche GT that Paul Walker was in when he died was just too fast for music producer Mally Mall ... who tells TMZ he had to dump the car because he didn't feel safe behind the wheel.
Mally -- who's worked with Chris Brown, Drake, Tyga and others -- told us he had the GT a few years ago, but sold it because he couldn't control it 100% of the time.
In fact, Mally Mall says the car would sometimes fishtail at high speeds (he once got it to 140 MPh) ... and it scared the crap out of him.
"Honestly, it was too fast for me."
Paul Walker Crash
Scumbag Roof Thieves CAUGHT ON TAPE
12/7/2013 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker's fans RECORDED FOOTAGE of the scumbags who stole pieces of the wrecked Porsche GT the actor died in ... and the video, obtained by TMZ, could help prosecutors put the bad guys behind bars.
The video -- shot by fans who were at the scene to pay tribute to the actor -- captured the moments when two men ran over to the Porsche, which was on a tow truck, and ripped off pieces of the roof.
The crooks then sprinted away from the car ... as the fans screamed at them to stop and honked their car horn to alert other people about the crime.
We broke the story ... cops were called and quickly arrested one of the suspects. The other man fled the state, but cops say they know who he is and expect the guy to turn himself in soon.
The men will most likely be charged with felony grand theft and tampering with evidence -- and if convicted, they could both face some serious jail time.
Porsche GT Was My Dream Car
12/6/2013 4:31 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Four years before he died, Paul Walker sat down in an interview and said his ultimate "dream car" was the Porsche Carrera GT ... the very car he died in ... and the interview was captured on video.
Paul was promoting "Fast & Furious" during the 2009 interview ... and raved about the GT -- saying, "That's the top car."
Of course, Paul eventually got to ride in his dream car last week ... but it ended in tragedy when the car slammed into a tree and a pole, killing both Paul and the man driving the car.
Paul Walker Death
Huge Car Rally Planned As Tribute
12/6/2013 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker will be remembered by thousands of auto enthusiasts this weekend with a huge, noisy car rally ... but TMZ has learned law enforcement will be out in force ... gunning for any reckless drivers.
The car meet is scheduled to begin at noon on Hercules Street ... near the spot where Walker and Roger Rodas died in the fiery crash of their Porsche Carrera GT last weekend.
More than 20,000 people are expected to show up -- that's a lot of vehicles. City officials are urging locals to avoid the area altogether.
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ they'll be ready for trouble, too ... with a highly visible police presence to make sure the event goes off safely.
We're told ... anyone caught doing burnouts or driving recklessly will be cited ... and could have their car impounded on the spot.
Paul Walker Death
Alleged Thieves of Charred Porsche Wreckage
12/5/2013 8:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Two sickos got busted today for allegedly stealing parts of the Porsche Paul Walker died in Saturday afternoon ... according to the Sheriff's Department.
The accused thieves allegedly made off with a T-top from the roof of the Porsche Carrera GT while it was being towed from the accident site to an impound yard late Saturday night.
According to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department ... the two men snatched the part when the tow truck stopped at a red light -- however the truck driver saw them drive off, and helped detectives identify them.
We're told 18-year-old Jameson Witty was arrested today -- and his cohort, who is out of state, has been contacted and will surrender soon.
The T-top was recovered in Witty's home -- and, remarkably, he actually posted a pic of the loot on his Instagram and bragged, "Piece of Paul walkers car, took it off a tow truck at a stop light."
Alleged criminals are dumb.
Witty and his pal are expected to be booked for felony grand theft and tampering with evidence.
Paul Walker Death
Image in Burning Porsche Video is NOT Paul
12/5/2013 11:06 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker did NOT make a final desperate attempt to escape the burning wreckage -- and the image seen in video shot right after the crash is definitely NOT Paul ... TMZ has learned.
There had been rampant speculation and buzz on the Internet that a shadowy figure seen around 23 seconds into the video of the burning Porsche Carrera GT ... was Walker trying to get out of the vehicle, but sources connected to the investigation now say it just isn't so ... for several reasons.
First, the sources tell us that, based on photographs of the wreckage ... Paul's body was pinned in an area of the car that makes it clear he couldn't have been flailing outside the vehicle.
Also ...we're told that based on the injuries he suffered, Paul died within a nanosecond of impact, and therefore it's impossible for the image in the video to be him.
It's not clear how long after impact the video starts, but clearly more than a nanosecond.
As for what the image really is -- we're told law enforcement has watched the video, and based on evidence from the crash site ... it appears to be a part of the car's roof burning.
Burning Porsche Video May Show Escape Attempt
12/4/2013 6:08 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
A close examination of the video showing the Paul Walker's Porsche engulfed in flames reveals a shadowy image appearing to flail.
There is now a swirl of speculation that the image, seen roughly 23 seconds into the clip, is Paul attempting to escape the death trap.
Law enforcement sources who participated in the investigation tell TMZ ... there is strong evidence that Paul and Roger Rodas never got out of their seats, but when pressed they would not conclusively say that Paul didn't attempt an escape.
Our sources say ... investigators are confident Roger absolutely didn't move -- but they would not definitely say that about Paul.
One source says it appears both men were trapped in their seats and therefore did not attempt an escape, but the key word is "appears."
We're told law enforcement is looking at the video now.
We broke the story ... the L.A. County Coroner's Office says Paul died from both trauma from the crash AND burn injuries, which insinuates the actor survived the initial impact and the fire was partially responsible for his death.