Childhood friend of Paul Walker pictured risking his own life to try and save actor seconds after fireball car crash
This is the heroic friend of Paul Walker who desperately tried to battle scorching hot flames to save the actor and driver Roger Rodas in the moments after their horrific car crash.
Newt Wimer raced to the scene and made a desperate attempt to pull Walker from the burning Porsche GT that had smashed into a steel pole seconds earlier.
He actually burnt his arms in the rescue attempt and was so determined to save Walker he allegedly hit a firefighter who was trying to restrain him and had to be detained by police officers for his own protection.
The picture of Wimer being held back by the emergency services in front of burning wreckage has become one of the most memorable images from Saturday’s tragic crash.
A friend said: ‘Newt is absolutely devastated by what has happened. He is a brave man and he did everything he could that day. He would have carried on if he hadn’t been restrained. In fact it’s lucky he was or he could have died too.
‘But despite that, he will be in pieces, just wishing he could have saved them both.’
However, it is almost certain Wimer’s attempts were in vain. An audio recording of first responders on the scene found they declared him dead almost immediately when they arrived on the scene less than three minutes after a witness called 911, TMZ reported.
A coroner’s report completed on Wednesday showed Rodas died on impact from his injuries, but Walker was still alive when the car burst into flames.
Wimer is a daredevil movie stuntman who has worked on films including Twister, Armageddon and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Wimer, 37, has been best friends with Fast and Furious actor Walker, 40, since meeting around 25 years ago at Village Christian High School in Los Angeles.
They have always been closely involved in each other’s lives and Wimer took an active role in Walker’s charity, Reach Out WorldWide.
He also found time in his hectic schedule to work as an engineer in Walker and 38-year-old Rodas’ Always Evolving racing team.
The three friends were at Always Evolving’s Valencia, California, office on Saturday for a charity toy drive when Walker and Rodas decided to take a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT out for a quick spin round the block.
Just a minute later the supercar careered into a concrete lamppost. It was initially reported they were involved in a street race with another vehicle, but that has since been disproven.
A technical fault has also been suggested, but police are now all but certain that Rodas was driving much too fast – possibly double the 45mph limit – and he simply lost control.
Wimer heard the smash from the Always Evolving offices and raced round to investigate. When he saw his friend in trouble he immediately ran to the car and tried to wrestle him free from the wreckage.
One eye witness, Jim Torp, described how Newt desperately battled in vain to save Walker. He said: ‘Paul’s best friend, Newt, had burns on his arms from trying to pull Paul out.
‘He didn’t care, he wanted to get his friend out of the car. The sheriff detained him and put him in the car so he wouldn’t get hurt.’
Despite Wimer’s valiant efforts, both father-of-one Walker and father-of-two Rodas – an investment banker – died at the scene.
Speaking immediately after, modest Wimer did not even mention his own involvement in the drama and simply paid tribute to his friends.
He told E! News: ‘They were two fun loving men who cared tremendously about other people. They left behind a lot of people who they loved and supported with their time and any way they could.’
A source close to the friends – who has asked to remain anonymous – told MailOnline how the pair were ‘like brothers’.
He said: ‘Newt and Paul grew up together, they went to the same school and were incredibly close. Like brothers really.
‘Newt has a workshop where he works on cars and other projects at his dad’s place. Paul was always round there helping out. He was there just two weeks ago.
‘I think it’s one of the only places where he felt most comfortable, because Newt and his family treated him like a normal person, not some big movie star.
‘Newt’s brother Lucas is also involved with Always Evolving, so Paul is really close to the whole family.
‘If they were working on a car and something heavy needed to be lifted or moved, they would shout at Paul to do it, just as though he was any other, regular guy.
‘Losing Paul and Roger is such a massive blow to this group and this community. Not only were they hugely well-respected, popular guys, they were so important to many different businesses and charities. The ramifications of their deaths will go on for a long time.’
Walker’s death has left fans of the Fast and Furious franchise devastated. But his family have been hit hardest and are struggling to cope with the tragedy.
His father, Paul Walker Senior gave an emotional interview to E! Online saying he had asked his son to give up his dare devil ways the last time he saw him.
He said: ‘I said, “Promise me, no more daredevil stuff.” I said, “If in your heart, you say, I can do this, then by all means, do it. If your mind says, maybe not. Then don’t.” I looked at him, I said, ‘Will you promise me that?’’
‘I said, “You know, promises are a very important thing here, Paul.” I said, “Say OK,” and he said “OK”.
‘You know, a lot of us, sometimes we make promises and get caught up in the moment and stuff like that, but I can tell I got to him,’ Mr Walker said. ‘I can tell that I was very serious. Sometimes sons think of their fathers and their grandfathers as these bigger than life people.’
Mr Walker also talked about how his son was always uncomfortable with fame, and how the media attention surrounding his death would have made him uneasy.
‘It was embarrassing to him,’ he said. ‘I thought last night, “Paul would be embarrassed of this.” And I looked up at the sky, and I said “Well, tough luck pal.”‘
His aunt, Linda Walker backed up Mr Walker’s sentiments, telling MailOnline her nephew was, ‘full of heart and substance’ and not ‘Hollywood at all’.
Speaking from her house on the outskirts of LA she said: ‘We are all hurting so badly, we just want him back.
‘He was a truly wonderful person. There should be more people like him in the world. He was full of heart and substance, he wasn’t Hollywood at all.
‘He spent his life helping people. If he heard someone needed help and he felt it in his heart he would go out of his way to help them.
‘He was always doing it, he’d overhear someone in a coffee shop and if he felt it in his heart he do all he could to make things better for them.’