LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles County Sheriff on Wednesday called the crash that seriously injured Tiger Woods a “pure accident” and appeared to rule out any potential criminal charges even as authorities were still investigating.
MPs saw no evidence the golf star was impaired by drugs or alcohol after Tuesday’s overturn on a downhill stretch of road known for its crashes, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.
“He wasn’t drunk,” Villanueva said during an event broadcast live on social media. “We can throw that one away.”
Woods, who had visited a clinic in 2017 for help with prescription drugs, was driving alone in the coastal Los Angeles suburbs when his SUV hit an elevated median, crossed oncoming lanes and rocked several times. The accident caused “significant” injuries to his right leg that required surgery, according to a post on the golfer’s Twitter account.
MP Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the crash, is patrolling the road and said he sometimes catches people exceeding 129 km / h in the descent zone, at 45 km / h and that the wrecks are common.
Justin King, a personal injury attorney in California, said if investigators prove the road was unsafe and contributed to the crash of Woods and others, the city controlling it could be held responsible. The wreckage occurred on the border between the communities of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, and the county supervisor who represents the area has requested a safety review.
Meanwhile, Villanueva said investigators may seek search warrants for a blood sample to permanently rule out drugs and alcohol. Detectives could also request search warrants for Woods’ cell phone to see if he was driving distracted, as well as the vehicle’s event data recorder, or “black box,” which would give speed information to the driver. which he was going.
Joe Giacalone, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and retired New York police sergeant, said it was “premature” for Villanueva to determine the crash was an accident a day later.
“The blood test could give us a whole different picture,” Giacalone said, noting that some drugs are not necessarily detectable by observation. “Because it’s Tiger Woods, people are going to demand answers. You must sprinkle your I’s and cross your T.
Accident investigations typically include interviews with first responders and passers-by as well as road and vehicle inspections, including photographing and measuring the scene and checking to see if the vehicle had any faults or defects. malfunctions, according to William Peppard, a retired Bergen, New Jersey county police detective who served as an accident investigator.
Peppard said that in typical cases without an immediate indication that the driver was weakened, detectives might not look for blood samples if the crash didn’t injure or damage anyone.
“Take the fame off – it’s a matter of resources and time,” he said.
In 2017, Woods was arrested for DUI when Florida police found him asleep at the wheel of his car parked awkwardly on the side of the road, with his engine still running, two flat tires and a blinking turn signal.
Woods said he had an unexpected reaction to the painkillers. He ultimately pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving. Three weeks after the arrest, he entered a clinic for help with prescription drugs and a sleep disorder.
This week’s crash was the latest setback for Woods, who at times seemed unstoppable with his 15 major championships and 82 record-breaking PGA Tour wins. He’s one of the most recognizable sports figures in the world, and at 45, with a reduced schedule compared to nine previous surgeries, remains golf’s biggest draw.
Injuries, however, have been a big part of his story dating back to his epic 2008 US Open victory at Torrey Pines, where he won with torn knee ligaments and two stress fractures in his left leg.
In 2009, his personal life imploded when he was caught having several extramarital affairs and crashed his vehicle into a fire hydrant and tree. He went two years without winning.
After returning to world No.1 in 2013, when he won five times and was PGA Tour Player of the Year for the 11th time, he underwent his first back surgery in 2014. He only played only 16 times over the next four years.
But he always came back. Even after four back surgeries, he won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time, which ranks among the big comebacks in the sport.
Woods underwent a fifth back operation, a microdiscectomy, on December 23, just three days after competing in the Cabin Crew Members Championship with his now 12-year-old son Charlie.
He was in Los Angeles this weekend as host of the Genesis Invitational tournament at Riviera Country Club. Monday and Tuesday had been set aside for him to give golf tips to celebrities on GOLFTV owned by Discovery.
Ferguson reported from Orlando, Florida.