FILE - A tow truck recovers the vehicle driven by golfer Tiger Woods in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP
FILE - A tow truck recovers the vehicle driven by golfer Tiger Woods in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP

Police determine cause of Tiger Woods crash but won't make it public without his permission

By The Washington Post Time of article published Apr 1, 2021

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The sheriff of Los Angeles County said on Wednesday that his office has determined the cause of the single-car crash that severely injured Tiger Woods in February, but won't make that information public unless Woods agrees to release it.

"There's some privacy issues on releasing information on the investigation," Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during an availability session streamed on Facebook. "So we're going to ask them if they waive the privacy, and then we will be able to do a full release on all the information regarding the accident."

Responding to a question posted online that asked if he still considered the incident to be "purely an accident," Villanueva said, "It still remains an accident. You either have an accident, or you have a deliberate act. This was an accident."

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Woods suffered major injuries to his legs and underwent multiple surgical procedures at two Los Angeles-area medical facilities over a period of approximately three weeks before he returned last month to his residence in Florida.

The crash occurred early in the morning on a winding, hilly stretch of road in a residential neighborhood near Los Angeles that is known for car wrecks. Woods's vehicle, an SUV loaned to him by the PGA tournament he had hosted days before, went over a median, crossed two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree as it careened off the road.

Villanueva has said that his office did not seek a warrant to test Woods's blood immediately after the crash because he did not show the kind of evidence of impairment that would have established probable cause.

The sheriff's office did obtain a search warrant to recover the "black box" from the SUV, and an affidavit for the warrant obtained earlier this month by USA Today stated that Woods repeatedly told officers he did not remember the circumstances of his crash.

Villanueva, who asserted last month that Woods will not face charges in the crash, said Wednesday that his office has "all the contents of the black box, we've got everything."

"It's completed, signed, sealed and delivered," he added. "However, we can't release it without the permission of the people involved in the collision."

"A cause has been determined, the investigation has concluded," Villanueva declared. He did not elaborate on the nature of the privacy issues he said required Woods's permission.

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Even while becoming one of the most famous athletes in the world, Woods, whose $20 million yacht is named "Privacy," has strove to remain guarded about his life away from the course. At times, however, he has felt compelled to address personal issues that have burst into public view, including in 2010, when he issued an apology for having cheated on then-wife Elin Nordegren.

In 2017, Woods issued another public apology after he was arrested on suspicion of DUI near his home in Florida. He eventually entered a DUI offender diversion program as part of a plea agreement in that case and later pleaded guilty to reckless driving.

In his most recent update on his condition, Woods said in a mid-March statement posted to social media that he would be "recovering at home and working on getting stronger every day."

Washington Post

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