Tiger Woods was driving greater than 125kmph — practically twice the posted velocity restrict — on a downhill stretch of highway when he misplaced management of an SUV and crashed in a wreck that significantly injured the golf famous person, authorities mentioned Wednesday.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva blamed the Feb. 23 crash exterior Los Angeles solely on extreme velocity and Woods’ lack of management behind the wheel. The athlete is not going to face any citations for his third high-profile collision in 11 years.
“The first causal issue for this visitors collision was driving at a velocity unsafe for the highway situations and the shortcoming to barter the curve of the roadway,” the sheriff advised a information convention.
Woods was driving 84 to 87 mph (135 to 140 kph) in an space with a velocity restrict of 45 mph (72 kph), Villanueva mentioned. Nobody else was damage, and no different autos have been concerned.
The stretch of highway is thought for wrecks and drivers who regularly hit excessive speeds. As a result of steepness of the terrain, a runaway truck escape lane is out there simply past the place Woods crashed.
There was no proof that the golfer tried to brake, and investigators imagine Woods might have inadvertently stepped on the accelerator as a substitute of the brake pedal in a panic, mentioned sheriff’s Capt. James Powers, who oversees the sheriff’s station closest to the crash web site.
Woods was sporting a seat belt on the time, and the car’s airbags deployed. He advised deputies that he had not taken medicine or consumed alcohol earlier than the crash, sheriff’s officers mentioned.
Detectives didn’t search search warrants for Woods’ blood samples, which might have been screened for medication or alcohol, or his cellphone. Authorities mentioned there was no proof of impairment or of distracted driving, so they didn’t have possible trigger to get warrants. Investigators did search the SUV’s information recorder, generally known as a black field, which revealed the car’s velocity.
On Twitter, Woods thanked first responders, in addition to the individuals who referred to as 911.
“I’ll proceed to deal with my restoration and household, and thank everybody for the overwhelming assist and encouragement I’ve obtained all through this very tough time,” Woods wrote.
Paperwork present that Woods advised deputies he didn’t understand how the crash occurred and didn’t keep in mind driving. On the time of the wreck, Woods was recovering from a fifth again surgical procedure, which passed off two months earlier.
Woods, who’s initially from the Los Angeles space, had been again house to host his PGA match, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Nation Membership, when the crash occurred.
He was driving an SUV loaned to him by the match when he struck a raised median in Rolling Hills Estates, simply exterior Los Angeles. The SUV crossed by way of two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree, putting it at 75 mph (120 kph).
Jonathan Cherney, an accident reconstruction skilled and retired Irvine, California, police detective, mentioned the sheriff didn’t clarify a elementary a part of the case: Why was Woods driving so quick?
“To only blanket it with an unsafe velocity violation is the simple approach out,” mentioned Cherney, who walked the crash web site. “We nonetheless are lacking the important thing components that sort of clarify why or how this complete sequence of occasions started.”
Cherney questioned whether or not Woods might have fallen unconscious sooner or later, citing the shortage of proof of braking, steering or anything to counsel the motive force was “conscious of what’s happening or trying to keep away from the crash.” He additionally mentioned investigators had sufficient possible trigger to hunt blood samples.
Woods is in Florida recovering from a number of surgical procedures, together with procedures to restore two damaged bones in his decrease proper leg with a rod in his shinbone. He additionally has screws and pins in his foot and ankle.
The 45-year-old athlete has by no means gone a complete 12 months with out enjoying, relationship again to his first PGA Tour occasion as a 16-year-old in highschool. He had hoped to play this 12 months within the Masters match, which begins Thursday.
Rory McIlroy, a four-time main golf champion who lives close to Woods in Florida, mentioned he visited Woods final month and located him to be “in first rate spirits.”
“Whenever you hear of this stuff and also you take a look at the automobile and also you see the crash, you suppose he’s going to be in a hospital mattress for six months. However he was truly doing higher than that,” McIlroy mentioned Tuesday from the Masters.
Within the days after the crash, the sheriff referred to as it “purely an accident” and mentioned there was no proof of impairment. Villanueva confronted criticism for labeling the crash an accident earlier than the investigation had concluded and pushed again Wednesday towards allegations of particular remedy for the golf star.
“That’s completely false,” he mentioned.
Final week, Villanueva mentioned investigators had decided the reason for the crash however wouldn’t reveal it. He claimed he wanted permission from Woods to take action. The sheriff mentioned Wednesday that Woods — who has a yacht named Privateness — had authorized the discharge of the investigation’s findings.
Villanueva additionally declined to launch footage from deputies’ physique cameras, citing the athlete’s privateness.
That is the third time Woods has been concerned in a car investigation.
Essentially the most infamous instance dates again to 2009, when his SUV ran over a fireplace hydrant and hit a tree early on the morning after Thanksgiving. Whereas Woods was cited for careless driving and fined $164, the crash was the beginning of revelations that he had been dishonest on his spouse with a number of ladies.
Woods additionally misplaced main company sponsorships within the backlash and went to a rehabilitation clinic. He didn’t return to golf for 5 months.
In 2017, Florida police discovered him asleep behind the wheel of a automobile parked awkwardly on the aspect of the highway. He was arrested on a DUI cost and mentioned later he had an surprising response to prescription drugs for his again ache.
Woods pleaded responsible to reckless driving and checked right into a clinic to get assist with prescription medicine and a sleep problem.