LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tiger Woods was driving more than 80 mph — practically twice the posted velocity restrict — on a downhill stretch of street when he lost management of an SUV and crashed in a wreck that significantly injured the golf celebrity, authorities mentioned Wednesday.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva blamed the Feb. 23 crash outdoors 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 primary causal factor for this traffic collision was driving at a speed unsafe for the road conditions and the inability to negotiate 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. No one else was harm, and no different autos have been concerned.
The stretch of street is understood for wrecks and drivers who steadily hit excessive speeds. Due to the 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 could 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 automobile’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 may have been screened for medicine 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 knowledge recorder, often known as a black field, which revealed the automobile’s velocity.
On Twitter, Woods thanked first responders, in addition to the individuals who known as 911.
“I will continue to focus on my recovery and family, and thank everyone for the overwhelming support and encouragement I’ve received throughout this very difficult time,” Woods wrote.
Documents present that Woods advised deputies he didn’t understand how the crash occurred and didn’t keep in mind driving. At the time of the wreck, Woods was recovering from a fifth again surgical procedure, which came about two months earlier.
Woods, who’s initially from the Los Angeles space, had been again house to host his PGA event, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, when the crash occurred.
He was driving an SUV loaned to him by the event when he struck a raised median in Rolling Hills Estates, simply outdoors Los Angeles. The SUV crossed via two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree, hanging it at 75 mph (120 kph).
Jonathan Cherney, an accident reconstruction knowledgeable and retired Irvine, California, police detective, mentioned the sheriff didn’t clarify a basic a part of the case: Why was Woods driving so quick?
“To just blanket it with an unsafe speed violation is the easy way out,” mentioned Cherney, who walked the crash web site. “We still are missing the key factors that kind of explain why or how this whole sequence of events began.”
Cherney questioned whether or not Woods could have fallen unconscious sooner or later, citing the dearth of proof of braking, steering or anything to recommend the driving force was “aware of what’s going on or attempting to avoid 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 year with out enjoying, relationship again to his first PGA Tour occasion as a 16-year-old in highschool. He had hoped to play this year within the Masters event, 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 decent spirits.”
“When you hear of these things and you look at the car and you see the crash, you think he’s going to be in a hospital bed for six months. But he was actually doing better than that,” McIlroy mentioned Tuesday from the Masters.
In the times after the crash, the sheriff known 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 is absolutely false,” he mentioned.
Last 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 Privacy — had accredited the discharge of the investigation’s findings.
Villanueva additionally declined to launch footage from deputies’ physique cameras, citing the athlete’s privateness.
This is the third time Woods has been concerned in a automobile investigation.
The most infamous instance dates again to 2009, when his SUV ran over a hearth hydrant and hit a tree early on the morning after Thanksgiving. While 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 girls.
Woods additionally lost 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 automotive parked awkwardly on the facet of the street. He was arrested on a DUI cost and mentioned later he had an sudden 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.
Associated (*80*) Golf Writer Doug Ferguson in Augusta, Georgia, contributed to this report.