Famed golfer Tiger Woods is unlikely to face criminal charges following his rollover crash on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the Los Angeles County Sheriff said Wednesday.
“We don’t contemplate any charges whatsoever in this crash,” said Sheriff Alex Villanueva during an online briefing. “This remains an accident. An accident is not a crime. They do happen unfortunately.”
Villaneuva reiterated that there are no indications Woods was impaired in any way, saying “he was lucid, there was no odor of alcohol, no evidence of any medication, narcotics or anything like that that would bring that into question.”
The sheriff said there are also no indications that would suggest a reckless driving charge.
“This is purely an accident,” he said. “There’ll be a cause of it, and there will be a vehicle code attached to the cause — if it’s inattentive driving, whatever the case may be. But that’s an infraction, and reckless driving is actually more than an infraction. That’s a misdemeanor crime that has a lot of elements attached to it, and there’s nothing like that.”
The crash was reported at 7:12 a.m. Tuesday on Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road, where Woods was driving northbound on a treacherous downhill, curving stretch of roadway that Villaneuva said has been the scene of 13 accidents — four involving injuries — since January of last year.
Villanueva said the 45-year-old golfer’s 2021 Hyundai Genesis SUV struck the center median — actually hitting a “Welcome To Rolling Hills Estates” sign — and careened across the southbound lanes, sheering off a tree and rolling over, coming to rest on its side along an embankment about 30 yards off the western edge of the road.
Rescue crews used a pry bar and axe to extricate Woods from the vehicle. The first deputy on the scene, Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, said Woods was conscious and lucid, still strapped in his seat belt in the driver’s seat.
Woods was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by ambulance, where he underwent a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle.
In a statement released about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on Woods’ Twitter account, Dr. Anish Mahajan, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center’s chief medical officer and interim CEO, said Woods had “comminuted open” fractures — meaning there were multiple breaks that left the bone exposed to open air — in the upper and lower portion of “both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula.”
The fractures were stabilized by “inserting a rod into the tibia,” Mahajan said. “Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins. Trauma to the muscle and soft- tissue of the leg required surgical release of the covering of the muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling.”
According to the statement, Woods was “awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room.”