Tiger Woods was driving at excessive speed before crashing his vehicle in February, but authorities are not sure if he was conscious when he lost control of his vehicle that day, the sheriff’s department said on Wednesday. from Los Angeles County.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was going over 82 mph in a 45 mph zone and instead of braking he was accelerating before impact, according to data received from the black box recorder of the Genesis SUV on loan from Woods.
Captain Jim Powers replied “We don’t know that” when asked if Woods was conscious before impact.
Woods will not be cited for a traffic violation, said Villanueva, who has received permission from Woods to release details of the crash investigation.
The famous golfer broke bones in his right leg in the Feb. 23 crash at Rolling Hills Estates, south of downtown Los Angeles. He underwent surgery and announced on Twitter on March 16 that he was recovering from home after being released from the hospital.
Car crash reconstruction forensic experts contacted by USA TODAY Sports said the available evidence from the crash was consistent with Woods being unconscious from the time he lost control until moment of impact.
One of those experts is Jonathan Cherney, a former police detective who walked to the scene after the accident. He said it was “like a classic case of falling asleep at the wheel, because the road turns and his vehicle goes straight.”
Instead of staying with her downhill lane as she turned right, Woods kept going left, hit the sidewalk eight inches from the median, hit a large wooden sign, continued to cross the median , then entered the opposite traffic lanes and left the road through extensive vegetation, hit a tree and roll over
His vehicle traveled about 400 feet after leaving its lane and reaching the median. If he had been conscious, the theory is that there would be evidence of braking or steering, experts said. There was no sign of skidding on the road, Villanueva said. Even with anti-lock brakes, experts said there could be slight skid marks. After hitting a curb and hitting a large sign in the median, the theory is that a driver would try to correct the error and get out of the emergency by getting back onto the road and braking.
Woods, 45, instead continued to move in a fairly straight direction with no sign of slowing down. He then told first responders that he did not recall how the accident happened and that he did not recall driving.
The Sheriff’s Department also did not look for blood evidence from him, saying he appeared lucid at the scene of the crash and there was no sign of impairment to warrant a blood test. Villanueva initially stressed that the crash was “purely an accident,” while his department also pointed out that the road Woods had taken was known for its crashes and speed.
To find out more about what happened, the sheriff’s department then runs a search warrant to obtain data from the vehicle’s black box, which typically indicates speed, direction and braking activity before the impact.
After obtaining the data, Villanueva offered clarification on March 17 when he said there were no “obvious” signs of the impairment. He then went on to talk about “lessons learned” and said, “I can tell you this: we need more drug recognition experts within the department.”
Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) are law enforcement officers trained to recognize signs of impairment that are not obvious. After an accident, they go through a 12-step process to assess a driver for impaired driving and may order a blood test. No DRE was used in the Woods case because Villanueva then said it was not necessary.
“We can’t just assume someone’s story makes them guilty,” Deputy Sheriff John Schloegl told USA TODAY Sports on March 2.
In 2009, Woods was cited for reckless driving after crashing into a tree and fire hydrant outside his Florida mansion. He was found unconscious at the scene and a witness later said Woods was prescribed the sleeping pill Ambien and the pain reliever Vicodin, according to a police report.
In 2017, he was found asleep at the wheel in Florida and arrested for impaired driving. A toxicology report later showed that he had Ambien, Vicodin, THC, and other drugs in his system. He then went to a clinic for help with the pain and trouble sleeping. He pleaded guilty to reckless driving.