Later today, the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department is expected to release its determination as to what caused Tiger Woods’ serious rollover crash back in February. But authorities have been mysteriously tight-lipped about their findings in the investigation thus far, and this forthcoming report won’t shed much more light on the accident, according to NBC News.
Last week, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the department had retrieved the contents of the black box inside the Genesis GV80 Woods was driving when his car reportedly hit a sign, crossed a median and two oncoming lanes of traffic and tumbled down an embankment in Palos Verdes, California on February 23.
Villanueva also told media that a cause had been determined and the investigation had concluded as of April 1. But he cautioned that “privacy issues” may prevent the department from releasing the full report:
“We have reached out to Tiger Woods and his personnel. There’s some privacy issues on releasing information on the investigation 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. We have all the contents of the black box, we’ve got everything. It’s completed, signed, sealed, and delivered. However, we can’t release it without the permission of the people involved in the collision.”
The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, and Villanueva in particular, has come under scrutiny for issuing rash assumptions about the accident’s cause without proper evidence. Authorities determined that Woods was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but they also didn’t retrieve a sample of Woods’ blood, citing the lack of grounds for a warrant. The department also stated it didn’t have probable cause to retrieve Woods’ cell phone records, TMZ reports.
Woods was said to have no recollection of driving after emergency responders pulled him out of his vehicle. The lack of evidence — not to mention the Sheriff Department’s reluctance to reveal what it does know — has fueled speculation that Woods was either under the influence of drugs or alcohol or a medical issue incapacitated him behind the wheel.
If the cause was health related, Woods would be within his rights to refuse to disclose that information publicly, per HIPAA laws. Nevertheless, it seems we won’t learn the context immediately leading up to the crash, and that Woods’ lawyers were able to successfully shield that information from the public record. This story is developing, and we expect to update it later today when the Sheriff Department’s report emerges.
Updated April 7, 2021 1:55 p.m. ET: The L.A. County Sherriff’s Department announced the findings of its investigation at 10 a.m. PT. Lolmita Station Captain James Powers stated that the primary cause determined was “driving at a speed unsafe for the road conditions and an inability to negotiate the curve of the roadway.”
Powers listed data points retrieved from the event data recorder inside Woods’ Genesis GV80. In the seven seconds leading up to the collision, the speed of Woods’ vehicle ranged from 82 to 87 mph before dipping down to 68 mph. However, Woods was applying 99 percent pressure to the accelerator pedal through each point of impact in the collision — striking a sign, then a tree and eventually coming to rest. No braking was recorded either, which the Sherriff’s Department interprets to mean that Woods inadvertently mashed the accelerator instead of the brake pedal. Some steering input was registered during this time, ranging from 10 degrees to the left to 55 degrees to the right.
According to Powers, “there was no evidence of any impairment, 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 [Woods’] person.” Powers stated that it would not have been appropriate for a field sobriety test to be conducted at the scene of the accident due to the traumatic nature of Woods injuries, but also mentioned that the Sherriff’s Department did not seek a warrant for bloodwork at the hospital because “there was no indication for us to do so.” Authorities also believe distracted driving didn’t play a role, and noted that no phone calls or texts were placed at the time of the accident.