Famed golf star Tiger Woods was driving 83 mph in a 45 mph zone when he lost control of his SUV that overturned in a catastrophic crash that severely injured Wood’s leg and ankle in Rancho Palos Verdes, a celebrity website reported Wednesday.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva was scheduled to provide an update on the investigation into the February crash, but TMZ beat Villanueva to his own story, citing sources as saying speed was the sole factor in the accident.
Last Wednesday, Villanueva announced the investigation into the Rancho Palos Verdes rollover crash had been completed — but that details were being withheld due to privacy issues. However, TMZ said Woods had waived his rights of privacy, allowing for the sheriff to detail the finding of his office’s probe.
“A cause has been determined, the investigation has concluded,” Villanueva said at the time. “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.”
Meanwhile, TMZ, citing “sources with direct knowledge,” reported Wednesday morning that excessive speed was the cause.
“Tiger was speeding when he lost control of his SUV and we’re told the Sheriff is hanging the cause of the accident squarely on speed,” TMZ said.
The website also said the “black box” in the vehicle shows Woods accelerated at the time of the crash.
It was not clear if Woods was talking or texting on his cell phone at the time of the crash. According to the TMZ report, the Sheriff’s Department did not get a warrant to check the cell phone records — feeling it did not have probable cause.
Villanueva said investigators obtained the black box from the Genesis GV80 SUV Woods was driving at 7:12 a.m. Feb. 23 when he struck the center median on northbound Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road. The SUV careened across the southbound lanes, sheered off a tree and flipped over before coming to rest on its side about 30 yards off the side of the road.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash and no other injuries were reported. The first person to arrive at the scene told sheriff’s officials Woods was unconscious inside the vehicle. The first sheriff’s deputy to respond found the 45-year-old golfing great awake and responsive, but suffering from severe leg injuries.
Woods was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he underwent surgery for multiple fractures to his right leg and ankle. He was later transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for follow-up work. He announced March 16 that he had been released from the hospital and returned to his home in Florida.
“Happy to report that I am back home and continuing my recovery,” Woods wrote in a message on his Twitter page. “I am so grateful for the outpouring of support and encouragement that I have received over the past few weeks.
“Thank you to the incredible surgeons, doctors, nurses and staff at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. You have all taken such great care of me and I cannot thank you enough. I will be recovering at home and working on getting stronger every day.”
No further information about his medical recovery has been released, and it was unclear if or when Woods might be able to return to the golf course.
Woods lives in Florida but was in the Southland at the time of the crash after hosting the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at The Riviera Country Club.
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