Tiger thought he was in Florida after L.A. crash
- Senior college football writer
- Author of seven books on college football
- Graduate of the University of Georgia
Tiger Woods didn’t remember anything about his car wreck on Feb. 23 and believed he was in the state of Florida when a sheriff’s deputy interviewed him at a Los Angeles-area hospital moments after the accident.
Those were among the new details included in 22 pages of a traffic collision report and supplemental reports released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Friday.
The incident report completed by Deputy Carlos Gonzalez concluded that Woods “was at fault in this collision for driving at an unsafe speed for road conditions (inability to negotiate a curve in the roadway).”
An analysis of the data from the black box recorder in the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving that day concluded that the SUV was traveling in a straight line, no brakes were applied and there was no steering input detected until some slight steering movement late in the recorded crash sequence.
“Had [Woods] applied his brakes to reduce his speed or steered to correct the direction of travel, he would not have collided with the center median and the collision would not have occurred,” L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Michael Downing wrote in the report.
Gonzalez wrote that when he found Woods inside his overturned SUV on the side of the road shortly after the accident, Woods was still in the driver’s seat with his seat belt on.
“[Woods] was acting in a manner consistent with someone suffering from shock due to having been involved in a major traffic collision,” Gonzalez wrote. “[Woods] was stuffing the deployed airbag back into the steering wheel. [Woods] was knocked unconscious during the collision and said he did not know how the collision occurred.”
The report said Woods had been knocked unconscious, had lacerations to the lower front jaw, bruised right and left rib cages, fractured right tibia and fibula and a possible right ankle injury.
Gonzalez noted in his report that Woods “had an open fracture mid shaft on his right leg below the knee” and “reacted to pain upon being moved from the vehicle.”
Due to Woods’ injuries, Gonzalez said he was unable to perform sobriety tests and found no alcoholic beverages, odor of alcoholic beverages or prescription medications in the SUV. There was an empty pill bottle with no labeling found in the front pocket of a backpack in the SUV, according to a supplemental report.
The report said Woods had low blood pressure, which “was consistent with shock as a result of the collision and the injuries [he] sustained.” A Los Angeles County Fire Department captain who treated Woods at the scene reported that he was “somewhat combative,” which was consistent with shock caused by his injuries. Woods was administered morphine and Zofran while being transported to the hospital via ambulance.
Deputy Kyle Sullivan interviewed Woods while the laceration on his chin was being stitched by doctors at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California. Sullivan wrote in his report that “Woods did not remember being involved in a traffic collision” and “thought he was currently in the state of Florida.”
Justin Smith, who investigated whether Woods was impaired while driving the SUV, interviewed responding officers and other first responders who treated Woods at the scene. The L.A. County Fire Department captain observed that Woods’ pupils were “not pinpoint and not restricted which would have been indicative of narcotic analgesic influence.”
Gonzalez told Smith that Woods’ answers to his questions “were not delayed and his speech was not slurred.”
Smith obtained camera footage from the valet area and front desk at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, where Woods had been staying. Smith observed that Woods “did not appear to have poor dexterity and he was not staggering or swaying.”
Based on his investigation, Smith concluded that “there was no reason to believe [Woods] had been operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol/drugs.”
“Had (Woods) applied his brakes to reduce his speed or steered to correct the direction of travel, he would not have collided with the center median and the collision would not have occurred,” said the report on the data prepared by Sergeant Michael Downing.
A report by another officer, Justin Smith, said “there was no reason to believe (Woods) had been operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol/drugs.” Smith based this on interviews with other officers and video footage, but did not evaluate Woods himself on the day of the crash. Smith interviewed a paramedic who described Woods’ pupils as “slightly sluggish,” but the paramedic attributed the sluggish pupils to the trauma Woods had sustained from the collision.
A sheriff’s captain said Woods’ low blood pressure “was consistent with shock as a result of collision and the injuries (Woods) sustained.” The same captain said Woods was “somewhat combative” when they were trying to treat him on the scene of the crash. This also was determined to be consistent with the trauma Woods sustained.
Deputy Kyle Sullivan reported he interviewed Woods at the hospital after the crash that day while an injury to Woods’ face was being stitched.
“I then asked (Woods) if he is able to tell me about what happened regarding the traffic collision,” Sullivan wrote. Woods “told me he did not remember being involved in a traffic collision. (Woods) thought he was currently in the state of Florida.”
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