The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has reportedly executed a search warrant to retrieve the electronic “black box” from the car Tiger Woods was driving “to determine if a crime was committed.”
The legendary golfer lost control of the 2021 Genesis GV80 he was driving on Feb. 23 while in southern California, crossing the median and two lanes of oncoming traffic and winding up in a ravine. Woods suffered severe injuries, including a compound fracture to one leg and a shattered ankle.
“We’re trying to determine if a crime was committed,” Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy John Schloegl told USA Today. “If somebody is involved in a traffic collision, we’ve got to reconstruct the traffic collision. If there was any reckless driving, if somebody was on their cell phone or something like that. If there was no crime, we close out the case, and it was a regular traffic collision.”
Schloegl’s statement differs from that of Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who said last week that the single-car crash was “purely an accident.” And authorities have already said that Woods will not be charged with reckless driving.
“A reckless driving charge has a lot of elements into it and this is purely an accident,” Villanueva said. “There will be a cause of it and there will be a vehicle code attached to the cause – for inattentive driving or whatever the case may be.
“But that’s an infraction and a 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.”
Shortly after the accident, Villanueva said that no data was recorded from the vehicle’s black box that could show how fast Woods was going at the time of the crash.
The sheriff’s department issued a statement to USA Today to clarify the conflicting information provided by Villanueva and Schloegl. “The Sheriff spoke about the information known at that time, and said it appeared to be a traffic accident,” the statement said. “However, the traffic collision investigation is (on)going and traffic investigators have not made any conclusions as to the cause of the collision.”
The sheriff’s department has ruled out intoxication as a cause of the crash and Villanueva said on the day of the accident that there “was no evidence of impairment.”
And Schloegl told USA Today that law enforcement did not seek a warrant to examine blood that might have been collected from Woods at the hospital.
Woods has already had one surgery to repair his injured legs. “Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia,” said Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer and interim CEO of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. “Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins.”