Tiger Woods has no recollection of the crash that left him hospitalized with serious injuries to his legs, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
“At the hospital he was asked about it by the investigators and he had no recollection of the crash itself,” Villanueva told CNN.
Early Tuesday morning, Woods crashed on his way to a television shoot at a Los Angeles-area golf course. The 45-year-old struck the median strip and careened across the opposing lanes of traffic before his SUV came to a rest in a gulley off the roadway. His car rolled over multiple times, and police said he was “lucky to be alive.”
The stretch of residential road is a common crash site, police said. That part of Hawthorne Boulevard has several bends and is downhill, which can lead to higher speeds. While Villanueva said Woods was driving at a “relatively greater speed than normal,” the Sheriff said the department is not planning to charge Woods. There was no evidence of impairment.
“This remains an accident, and an accident is not a crime. They do happen, unfortunately,” Villanueva said.
Woods had to be extracted from the vehicle with the aid of an axe and pry bar. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, the first officer on the scene, said Woods was calm when he arrived but didn’t seem to realize his condition.
“I don’t think he was aware of how gravely he was injured at the time. It could be a mixture of adrenaline, it could’ve been shock,” Gonzalez told NBC. “Again, it was very quick, the moment that I arrived from the moment that he rolled over, so I don’t know if he had time to fully assess his injuries.”
Woods was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent a lengthy surgery on his right leg. According to a statement released by Woods’ representatives, the 82-time PGA Tour winner suffered comminuted open fractures to the upper and lower parts of his right tibia and fibula.
Surgeons inserted a rod into Woods’ right leg and stabilized his foot and ankle with screws and pins Tuesday night. Woods has undergone many surgeries before — including his fifth back surgery in late December — but this could be the 15-time Major winner’s largest setback yet.
While Woods’ vehicle was heavily damaged, Gonzalez said the accident could have been worse.
“I’ve seen collisions that didn’t look as serious where the occupants were injured much more severely,” Gonzalez said. “I think that’s just a testament to the fact that he was wearing a seatbelt, airbags worked as intended and modern vehicles are much more safe than they ever used to be.”
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