Tiger Woods was driving near twice the posted speed limit of 45 mph when he hit a sharp curve and crashed into the Palos Verdes Peninsula in February, the Los Angeles County Sheriff said on Wednesday in a long-awaited report on the accident that left the golf course. legend seriously injured.
Driving at a speed dangerous for the road conditions and the inability to negotiate the bend in the roadway caused the accident on February 23, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Woods was driving a borrowed Genesis SUV when he crashed and suffered serious ankle and leg injuries, which could threaten his playing career.
Investigators looked at the SUV’s advanced data systems to determine that Woods had reached speeds of up to 87 mph at the time of the crash at Rolling Hills Estates. The sheriff released the information after Woods waived any objection to the release of information about the crash.
Instead of slowing down on the twisty stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard, Woods was accelerating down the steep grade on the north side, sometimes surprising drivers oblivious to their increasing momentum.
James C. Powers, captain of the Lomita Sheriff’s Station who patrols the area that includes Hawthorne Boulevard, said the crash happened at 7:12 a.m. Woods struck the median and then a Rolling Hills sign, then the west sidewalk before hitting a tree 71 feet from the roadway.
“The impact of the vehicle when it hit the tree caused it to fly, spin and land sideways,” Powers said.
When the airbags were triggered, the SUV’s event data recorder recorded pre- and post-impact speeds of 82.02 mph to 86.99 mph.
Powers said the data logger also captured the pressure applied to the accelerator during the crash, which he said was 99%.
“There was no evidence of braking in the collision,” said Powers, who speculated that Woods may have inadvertently “hit the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.”
As Woods hit the west sidewalk, the SUV’s speed dropped to 75 mph after the first impacts, Powers said.
Villanueva noted that the stretch of road where Woods crashed is “dangerous by design” and has had “more than an average number of collisions.”
In the year preceding the accident, 13 other motorists crashed on the section, and all but two were found to be at fault. Villanueva said it’s easy for a pilot to pick up speed on the downhill stretch, where gravity alone creates momentum. But he also noted on Wednesday that “drivers are also responsible for taking conditions into account.”
Woods was staying in the Los Angeles area after hosting the Genesis Invitational golf tournament. He was on his way to the Rolling Hills Country Club around 7 a.m. on February 23 for a shoot after spending the night at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Woods is now in Florida recovering from several surgeries.
There had been growing questions about why more information had not been released on the crash. Last week, Villanueva said detectives determined the cause of the crash, but declined to release details, citing unspecified privacy concerns.
Powers on Wednesday denied that there was evidence of Woods ‘use of alcohol, drugs or prescription medication that would have provided probable cause for obtaining a search warrant for Woods’ blood samples at the hospital. He also noted that given the compound fracture and life-threatening injuries Woods sustained at the scene, no form of sobriety assessment would have been done.
“There was no evidence of depreciation. There was no smell of alcohol. There are no open containers in the vehicle and no narcotics or evidence of drugs in the vehicle or on his person, ”Powers said.
He added that during a subsequent interview in the emergency room, Woods indicated that he had not taken any medication or medication at the time of the accident.
The sheriff also fended off former law enforcement officials who suggested Woods’ blood should have been checked.
“I know a lot of drug recognition experts have said they should have done this or that, and without the signs of impairment we are not getting to the point where we can create a search warrant and develop the case. probable, ”he said.
Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, the senior accident investigator in the case and the first deputy to arrive at the scene, has publicly stated that he did not observe anything that led him to suspect that Woods was under the attack. influence of a substance and therefore had no legal basis to test it for alcohol, narcotics or prescription drugs. Woods was calm and lucid, he added.
Villanueva also noted that a driver’s “history” of drug abuse is not a probable cause. In 2017, Woods went to a clinic for help with drug addiction after a DUI charge in his home state of Florida.
Woods told investigators he has no recollection of what happened.
Powers and Villanueva also explained why Woods had not been charged with a felony or cited for reckless driving or speeding.
Powers said the data from the SUV is not enough to quote Woods with speeding tickets. The act must be observed by a law enforcement officer.
The sheriff intervened. “This is a solo collision …. We are not going to issue a citation for an offense without a peace officer present.” It would apply to everyone, ”Villanueva said, adding that any suggestion that Woods would receive special treatment“ is false ”.
Dmitry Gorin, a former Los Angeles deputy district attorney, said data from the SUV’s “black box” could be used as evidence to generate a ticket. But in practice, he said, law enforcement agencies need some sort of witness to issue a speeding ticket.
Additionally, Gorin said, he was not aware of any instance where a speeding ticket was issued only with data from a vehicle’s black box.
Woods says he is focusing on his “recovery and his family” after the sheriff’s department closed the investigation into his accident.
“I am very grateful to the two Good Samaritans who came to help me and called 911,” Woods said in a statement Wednesday. “I am also grateful to the LASD assistants and LA firefighters / paramedics, especially Carlos Gonzalez, LA Sheriff’s deputy and Smith and Gimenez, the LAFD Engine Co. fire paramedics.”