Watch CBS News

LA Sheriff Says Unsafe Speed Was Primary Cause Of Tiger Woods Crash; No Sign Of Impairment

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Investigators Wednesday morning revealed that unsafe speed was the primary cause of the February crash that severely injured golfer Tiger Woods, with no sign that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Tiger Woods crash
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIFORNIA FEBRUARY 23, 2021-L.A. County Sheriff's officers investigate an accident involving famous golfer Tiger Woods along Hawthorne Blvd. in Ranch Paos Verdes Tuesday. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

In a news conference, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that the department received permission from Woods and his family to publicly release the findings of the investigation into the Rancho Palos Verdes rollover wreck. He is not facing any criminal charges and was not issued any citations.

"The primarily causal factor for this traffic collision was driving at a speed unsafe for the road conditions and inability to negotiate the curve of the roadway," Villanueva said.

Woods' SUV was traveling between 84 and 87 miles per hour just prior to impact, investigators learned. There was no indication that he hit the brakes. It's possible that he hit the accelerator pedal by accident.

"It is speculated and believed that Tiger Woods inadvertently hit the accelerator instead of the brake pedal," LASD Capt. James Powers told reporters.

There was also no sign that he was impaired or intoxicated during the crash, the investigation found.

"There was no odor of alcohol, there were no open containers in the vehicle and there were no narcotics or any evidence of medication in the vehicle or on his person," Powers added .

However, no blood tests were obtained by investigators. Both Villanueva and Powers defended the decision not to do so.

"We did not seek a warrant because there was no indication for us to do so," Powers said. "Based on all the facts, there was no evidence of any impairment or intoxication. In order to obtain a search warrant, you have to have probable cause to be able to articulate that, and that did not exist."

"I know there's a lot of experts who claim they're drug recognition people, who said, 'Oh, they should have drawn blood or done this and done that,'" Villanueva said. "Without the signs of impairment, we don't get to the point where we can actually author a search warrant and develop the probable cause to get that and execute that search warrant. So that did not happen, and that is not preferential treatment, that would occur in any collision of this type."

Investigators also did not look into whether Woods may have been texting or talking on his phone prior to the crash.

"We did not check his phone for texting, and there was really no need to do that," Powers said.

Deputies who arrived on scene were unable to pull him out through the sunroof, so waited for firefighters to arrive on scene to extract him.

"I don't want to use the word 'alert,' but he was, but he was kind of dazed and confused being in a state of shock," Powers said. "But he was interviewed at the hospital as well, and he was coherent, his speech was normal."

Authorities reiterated that Woods doesn't remember the crash.

"He doesn't have any recollection of the incident," Powers said.

Wednesday's report comes after Villanueva said last week said that the investigation into the wreck had been completed, but would not immediately be made public due to family privacy issues.

Villanueva previously said that investigators obtained the black box of the 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV Woods was driving.

On the morning of Feb. 23, Woods was traveling north on Hawthorne Boulevard, at Blackhorse Road, when his SUV struck the center divider, crossed it and careened across all southbound lanes, hit a tree, rolled over, and came to a stop on its side in some nearby brush.

The 45-year-old Woods was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, where he underwent surgery for multiple fractures to his right leg and ankle before being transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for additional treatment.

There were no other vehicles involved in the crash and no other injuries reported.

Immediately following the crash, Villanueva said criminal charges were not being considered against Woods.

"There was no evidence of any impairment whatsoever, he was lucid," Villanueva told reporters at the time.

However, it was subsequently revealed in an affidavit that a man claims he found Woods unconscious immediately after his vehicle came to a stop.

Woods had stayed overnight at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes and may have been late to an appointment when he crashed. He was in the Southland for the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club.

In mid-March, Woods was released from the hospital and is now recovering at his home in Florida. He released a statement Wednesday in response to the report's public release. It read, in part:

"I am so grateful to both of the good Samaritans who came to assist me and called 911. I am also so thankful to the LASD deputies and LA Firefighter/Paramedics, especially LA Sheriff's Deputy Carlos Gonzalez and LAFD Engine Co. #106 Fire Paramedics Smith and Gimenez, for helping me so expertly at the scene and getting me safely to the hospital.

"I will continue to focus on my recovery and family, and thank everyone for the overwhelming support and encouragement I've received throughout this very difficult time."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.