An update on the investigation into a rollover crash that left golfer Tiger Woods hospitalized is expected at a news conference Wednesday morning with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Law enforcement sources told NBC News that the department will release their report Wednesday on the Feb. 23 single-vehicle crash. The report is an accident report, which is not expected to provide significant new details about what caused the crash on a sweeping downhill turn on Southern California’s Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Last Wednesday, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced the investigation into the Rancho Palos Verdes crash had been completed, but that details were being
withheld due to privacy issues.
“A cause has been determined, the investigation has concluded,” Villanueva said. “However, we have reached out to Tiger Woods and his personnel. There’s some privacy issues on releasing information on the investigation, and we’re going to ask them if they waive the privacy. Then we’ll be able to do a full release on all the information regarding the accident.”
The news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m.
Woods suffered serious injuries in the crash when he struck a raised median around 7 a.m. in Rolling Hills Estates, just outside Los Angeles. The Genesis SUV he was driving crossed through two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree on a downhill stretch that police said is known for wrecks. Woods is in Florida recovering from multiple surgeries.
Villanueva has commented previously about the crash, calling it “purely an accident” and saying there was no evidence of impairment. Woods told deputies he did not know how the crash occurred and didn’t remember driving.
He was unconscious when a witness first approached the mangled SUV. A sheriff’s deputy said the athlete later appeared to be in shock but was conscious and able to answer basic questions.
Investigators did not seek a search warrant for Woods’ blood samples, which could be screened for drugs and alcohol. In 2017, Woods checked himself into a clinic for help in dealing with prescription drug medication after a DUI charge in his home state of Florida.
Detectives, however, did obtain a search warrant for the data recorder of the 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV, known as a black box. Villanueva would not say Wednesday what data had been recovered from the black box.
“A cause has been determined, the investigation has concluded,” Villanueva said during a live social media event last Wednesday.
Villanueva claimed investigators need permission from Woods — who previously named his yacht “Privacy” — to make public information about the crash.
“We have reached out to Tiger Woods and his personnel,” Villanueva said. “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.”
Hours after the social media event, the sheriff’s department posted a message on Twitter saying that the release of such reports falls under California’s vehicle code.
“When we are able, we intend to release the information learned during the traffic collision investigation” that involved Woods, the tweet stated.
The section of state code cited by the sheriff’s department does not govern the release of the information outside the so-called “accident reports.” It says those reports must be confidential but can be disclosed “to any person who may have a proper interest therein.”
Greg Risling, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County district attorney, said in an email last week that no felony or misdemeanor complaints against Woods had been filed through the district attorney’s office regarding the crash.
Woods is from the Los Angeles area and was home to host his PGA tournament, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, which ended two days before the crash. He was driving an SUV loaned to him by the tournament.
Woods has never gone an entire year without playing, dating back to his first PGA Tour event as a 16-year-old in high school.
Source: NBC Los Angeles