Tiger Woods was driving over 125 km / h – almost twice the speed limit – on a descending stretch of road when he lost control of an SUV and crashed into a wreck that seriously injured the golf star, authorities said Wednesday.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva blamed the crash on February 23 outside of Los Angeles only for speeding and loss of control of Woods behind the wheel. The athlete will not face quotes about his third high-profile clash in 11 years.
“The main causative factor for this collision is driving at a speed that is not safe for road conditions and the inability to overcome the curve of the roadway,” the sheriff told a news conference.
Woods drove 135 to 140 km / h in an area with a speed limit of 72 km / h, Villanueva said. No one else was injured and no other vehicles were involved.
The stretch of road is known for wreckage and drivers who often hit high speeds. Due to the steepness of the terrain, an escape lane for escaped trucks is available right where Woods crashed.
There is no evidence that the golfer tried to stop, and investigators believe Woods inadvertently panicked instead of the brake pedal, said Sheriff’s Sheriff James Powers, who is monitoring the sheriff’s station closest to the crash site.
Woods was wearing a seat belt at the time and the vehicle’s airbags were deployed. He told lawmakers he did not take medication or drink alcohol before the crash, sheriff’s officials said.
Detectives did not seek orders to search for Woods’ blood samples, which could be screened for drugs or alcohol or his cell phone. Authorities said there was no evidence of injury or distracted driving, so they had no probable reason to receive orders. Investigators searched the SUV’s data recorder, known as the black box, which reveals the vehicle’s speed.
On Twitter, Woods thanked the first responders, as well as the people who called 911.
“I will continue to focus on recovery and my family, and I thank everyone for the tremendous support and encouragement I received during this very difficult time,” Woods wrote.
Documents show that Woods told lawmakers he did not know how the crash occurred and did not remember driving. During the crash, Woods was recovering from a fifth back operation, which took place two months earlier.
The Woods, a native of the Los Angeles area, had returned home to host his PGA tournament, Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club, when the crash happened.
He was driving a jeep occupied by the tournament when he hit an elevated median at Rolling Hills Estates, near Los Angeles. The SUV passed through two opposite lanes and uprooted a tree, hitting it at a speed of 120 km / h.
Jonathan Black, a disaster recovery expert and retired police detective Irvine, Calif., Said the sheriff didn’t explain much of the case: Why did Woods drive so fast?
“Just covering it with a dangerous speeding disorder is the easy way out,” said Cherny, who toured the crash site. “The key factors that explain why or how this whole sequence of events began are still missing.”
Black doubted whether Woods might have fainted at some point, citing a lack of evidence of stopping, driving, or anything else that suggested the driver was “aware of what was happening or trying to avoid it.” the catastrophe. ” He also said investigators had a good enough reason to look for blood samples.
Woods is in Florida, recovering from numerous surgeries, including procedures to repair two broken bones in his lower right leg with a stick in his shin. It also has screws and pins in the foot and ankle.
The 45-year-old athlete has never spent a year without playing, dating back to his first event on the PGA Tour as a 16-year-old in high school. He hoped to play in the Masters tournament this year, which starts on Thursday.
Rory McIlroy, a four-time top golf champion who lives near Woods in Florida, said he visited Woods last month and found he was in a “decent mood.”
“When you hear about these things and look at the car and see the accident, you think he will be in a hospital bed for six months. But he was actually doing better than that, “McIlroy told the Masters on Tuesday.
In the days after the crash, the sheriff called it a “pure accident” and said there was no evidence of injury. Villanueva faced criticism for labeling the crash as an incident before the investigation ended and dismissed allegations of special treatment of the golf star on Wednesday.
“This is absolutely untrue,” he said.
Last week, Villanueva said investigators had identified the cause of the crash but had not revealed it. He claims he needs permission from Woods to do so. The sheriff said on Wednesday that Woods – who owns a yacht named Privacy – had approved the disclosure of the findings of the investigation.
Villanueva also refused to release footage from the deputies’ body cameras, citing the athlete’s personal life.
This is the third time Woods has been involved in a vehicle investigation.
The most famous example dates back to 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree early in the morning after Thanksgiving. While Woods was quoted for negligent driving and fined $ 164, the crash was the beginning of revelations that he had cheated on his wife with multiple women.
Woods also lost a lot of corporate sponsorship as a result of the reaction and went to a rehabilitation clinic. He did not return to golf for five months.
In 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on charges of DUI and later said he had an unexpected reaction to the prescription drug due to back pain.
Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving and registered at a clinic to receive help for prescription drugs and sleep disorders.