Tiger Woods was driving nearly twice the speed limit on a stretch of Southern California road infamous for accidents when he crashed a 2021 Genesis GV80 sport utility vehicle Feb. 23 and suffered several potentially career-ending leg injuries.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Woods was traveling between 84 and 87 miles per hour in a 45 m.p.h. zone. Villanueva said at a news conference Woods was traveling at an estimated 75 m.p.h. when it struck a tree.
“The primary causal factor for the collision was Tiger Woods driving at an unsafe speed for the road conditions and being unable to negotiate the curve,” said Villanueva.
Woods was not cited for driving too fast and no criminal charges will be filed. Villanueva added there were no signs of impairment or intoxication, and that Woods was wearing his seatbelt.
James Powers, captain of the Lomita Sheriff’s Station said data was obtained from the vehicle’s event data recorder. It’s often called the black box. The data showed Woods had hit the accelerator throughout the crash, and the pressure applied to the pedal was 99 percent.
Tiger Woods driving poorly
Powers said he believed that Woods inadvertently hit the accelerator while trying to brake.
Woods was not cited, Villanueva said, because under California law that typically requires either an independent witness or a law enforcement officer to witness the excessive speed. He said that Woods did not receive any special treatment, and nobody would be cited for speeding in a solo vehicle collision without any witnesses.
Woods had to be extracted from his S.U.V. after the crash. He was taken to the hospital, where he underwent several surgeries on his right leg.
Woods crashed his car on a windy and tricky stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard known for car crashes near Rancho Palos Verdes, a coastal city in Los Angeles County.
According to data collected by the sheriff’s department, there were 13 crashes, four with injuries, from Jan. 3, 2020, to Feb. 23 of this year within a 1.35-mile stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard that includes the site where Woods crashed.
That stretch of road is also known for speeding. Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, the first emergency responder to arrive at the scene, said at a news conference in February he had sometimes seen vehicles going more than 80 miles per hour on Hawthorne Boulevard.
Woods’s vehicle hit the median strip, traveled hundreds of feet and rolled several times before it stopped in the brush on the opposite side of the road. Along the way, it hit a tree, which sent the S.U.V. “airborne” where it did “somewhat of a pirouette,” according to Powers.
Woods was taken to Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery. He was transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for follow-up procedures. Woods spent several days in the hospital receiving treatment
Dr. Anish Mahajan, the acting chief executive of Harbor-U.C.L.A., said in a statement the night after the crash that both bones in Woods’s lower right leg, the tibia and the fibula, had been broken in multiple places and were “open fractures,” meaning the bones had pierced his skin.
The statement did not describe any injuries to Woods’s left leg, though Daryl L. Osby, the Los Angeles County fire chief, had said earlier that Woods had “serious injuries” to both legs.
Before the crash, Woods hosted a golf tournament in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles.
Woods underwent back surgery, his fifth, in Dec. 2020, the latest injury to slow his golf career. He has won just one major golf championship since 2008.
Captain Powers said there was no odor of alcohol, open containers or any narcotics in the vehicle or on Woods after the February crash. Woods told law enforcement investigators that he had not been drinking and had not taken any prescription pills. Investigators did not obtain or test Woods’s blood.
Woods was driving the Genesis SUV, which was provided to him during the tournament; he is known for always driving himself in a courtesy car at tournaments.
Woods has been involved in two other prominent car accidents.
In 2009, he crashed his sport utility vehicle near his home in Florida.
Woods was arrested in 2017 after police passed out behind the wheel of his car. Tiger said he had taken prescription medication before the accident and didn’t realize how the medication would affect his ability to drive.