As the investigation into the rollover car crash that left Tiger Woods with serious injuries continues, the Los Angeles County Sheriff said that the golf legend will not face criminal charges over the incident.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva took questions from the media on Wednesday, February 24, and when asked directly if Woods could be charged with reckless driving, he flat out said, "No."
"This is purely an accident," he added.
Earlier, Villanueva confirmed that deputies at the time of the crash did not see any evidence of impairment.
“What we’re (sic) at is signs of under the influence of either narcotics, medication, alcohol, order of alcohol, all these different things that would give you an idea in their behavior, but there was none present,” he said.
He noted that a follow-up probe would make any final determination. The subsequent investigation will also examine if the accident may have been due to “distracted driving,” like texting.
On Tuesday, February 23, LASD responded to a single vehicle rollover traffic collision on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes near Los Angeles shortly after 7 a.m. The vehicle, which sustained major damage, was traveling northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard, at Blackhorse Road, when it crashed.
The Sheriff's Department said that the athlete was the sole occupant of the vehicle, and when a sheriff's deputy first arrived on the scene, he found Woods still in the driver's seat, wearing his seatbelt and appearing "lucid" and "calm."
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Authorities initially said that the 45-year-old had to be extricated from the vehicle using the "jaws of life" tool by Los Angeles County firefighters and paramedics, but it was later clarified that an ax was used to remove him from the wreckage.
He was then transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by ambulance for non life-threatening injuries where he was immediately rushed into surgery, law enforcement sources said.
Villanueva said that accidents were not uncommon in the area due to the downhill slopes and curves on the road.
“Thankfully the interior was more or less intact, which gave him the cushion to survive,” he said. “Otherwise, it would have been a fatal crash.”
Late Tuesday night, Woods' team released a statement on the athlete's official Twitter account announcing that he was "currently awake, responsive, and recovering in the hospital room."
The statement also quoted Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer and interim CEO of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, confirming that Woods "suffered significant orthopaedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by orthopaedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center."
"Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized with a combination by inserting a rod into the tibia," Mahajan said. "Additional injures to the bones and of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins."
The 15-time major champion was in Southern California for a two-day content shoot with Golf Digest/GOLFTV after serving as host for the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational over the weekend. Pictures surfaced on social media of Woods smiling with celebs like Dwayne Wade and David Spade at Rolling Hills Country Club on Monday.