Tiger Woods He was speeding when his SUV collided with the median of a freeway in Southern California less than two months ago, causing serious injuries, authorities explained Wednesday. The former world No. 1 was driving between 84 and 87 miles per hour (between 135 and 140 kms / hour) on a downhill stretch of highway outside of Los Angeles that had a speed limit of 45 miles (72 kms / hour) revealed the Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
The stretch of road is notorious for accidents and for drivers reaching speeds so high that there is an emergency exit for runaway vehicles right after where Woods crashed his SUV. Villanueva attributed the February 23 accident solely to excessive speed and Woods’ loss of control behind the wheel. Deputy Sheriff James Powers said there was no evidence that the golfer braked during the crash and that Woods is believed to have mistakenly stepped on the gas instead of the brake pedal.
Detectives did not request search warrants for the athlete’s blood samples, which could have been tested for drugs or alcohol, or for his mobile phone. Sheriff officials said there was no evidence of impaired or distracted driving. However, investigators logged the SUV’s data recorder, known as a black box, in the days after the accident. No traffic citations were issued.
The sheriff said Woods gave authorities permission to release details about the crash. Documents show Woods told deputies that he did not know how the accident occurred and did not recall driving. At the time of the accident, Woods was recovering from a fifth back operation, which took place two months earlier. Woods, who is originally from the Los Angeles area, had attended the PGA Tour Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club that weekend when the accident occurred. He was driving an SUV loaned to him by the tournament when he hit an elevated median in Rolling Hills Estates outside Los Angeles. The SUV crossed two lanes in the opposite direction and uprooted a tree.
This is how Tiger’s SUV was after the accident
Criticism of Villanueva
Tiger is at his home in Jupiter, Florida, recovering from multiple operations, including a lengthy operation to break the bones of the tibia and fibula in the lower right leg at various points. Other injuries to the foot and ankle bones required screws and nails.
Woods, 45, has never gone a full year without playing, since his first PGA Tour event when he was 16 in high school. He was hoping to play the Masters this year, which starts this Thursday.
In the weeks after the event, the sheriff called it a “mere accident.” Villanueva faced criticism for calling the crash an accident before the investigation had concluded. This is the third time that Woods has been involved in an investigation involving an incident aboard an included car. In 2009 his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and crashed into a tree first thing in the morning after Thanksgiving. That accident was the beginning of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with various women. Woods lost significant corporate sponsorships, entered a rehab clinic in Mississippi, and did not play golf again for five months.
In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep at the wheel of an improperly parked car on the side of the road. He was arrested on a drunk driving charge and later said he had an unexpected reaction to a prescription drug for his back pain. Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked himself into a clinic for help with prescription drugs and a sleep disorder.