The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says there was “no evidence of impairment” when officers arrived on the scene of the crash that injured golf legend Tiger Woods on Tuesday.
Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median, crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) February 24, 2021
The airbags went off and the inside of the vehicle stayed basically intact, and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said.
They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and found none. They didn’t say how fast he was driving.
The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to get to the wreck, said he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and crashes are common.
“I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said.
When the deputy arrived, a neighbour told him the driver was still in the vehicle. Gonzalez said he poked his head through a hole in the windshield and saw Woods with his seatbelt on.
The deputy asked Woods questions, including what day it was and where he was.
“Tiger was able to speak to me lucidly,” Gonzalez said. Woods appeared “incredibly calm,” the deputy said, likely because he was in shock.
— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) February 23, 2021
A KABC-TV helicopter over the scene of Woods’ accident showed a car on its side with the front end heavily damaged. Airbags appeared to be deployed. The wreckage appeared to be just off the side of a road on a hillside.
Tiger Woods’ vehicle after the crash this morning that now has him in surgery for what his agent is calling “multiple leg injuries.” pic.twitter.com/VbI5qvyj8g
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 23, 2021
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, where he presented the trophy.
He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement contract. One tweet on Monday showed him in a cart smiling with David Spade.
According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons to celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade. He did not play.
The 15-time major champion last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship with his 11-year-old son, Charlie. He had a fifth surgery on his back, a microdiscectomy, two days before Christmas and gave no indication when he would return.
The Masters tournament is April 8-11 and when asked if he would be there during the CBS telecast, Woods replied, “God, I hope so.”
This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009 when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree.
That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women.
Woods lost major corporate sponsorship, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi, and did not return to golf for five months.
In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain.
Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder.
With files from Stephanie Dazio of The Associated Press