No charges expected in Tiger Woods crash

No charges expected in Tiger Woods crash
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Jordan Freiman
·3 min read
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No criminal charges are expected in relation to the Tuesday car crash that injured Tiger Woods, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced Wednesday. Woods underwent emergency surgery after suffering serious injuries to his legs in the crash.

"We don't contemplate any charges whatsoever in this crash," Villanueva said at a press conference.

While coming around a curve in the road, Woods' vehicle struck the median and then crossed over into oncoming traffic, Villanueva said. The SUV then hit the curb and began to roll over before eventually coming to a stop in an embankment about 30 yards away from the road.

Villanueva said the 45-year-old golf icon could still be hit with driving infractions based on what the traffic investigation uncovers, but said a charge of reckless driving, a misdemeanor crime, was not expected.

"A reckless driving charge has a lot of elements to it," he said. "This is purely an accident." According to Villanueva, the stretch of road where Woods crashed has seen 13 accidents, four of which resulted in injuries, since last January.

The car that golf legend Tiger Woods was driving when seriously injured in a rollover accident on February 23, 2021 in Rolling Hills Estates, California. / Credit: David McNew / Getty Images
The car that golf legend Tiger Woods was driving when seriously injured in a rollover accident on February 23, 2021 in Rolling Hills Estates, California. / Credit: David McNew / Getty Images

Villanueva also said Woods showed no signs of impairment and a drug recognition expert did not respond to the scene of the accident or the hospital.

"He was not drunk. If there was evidence of that, we would proceed with that," he said, adding that Woods' celebrity status has played no role in their assessment of the crash. "...This is an accident. We are treating it as an accident."

Villanueva did note that any toxicology tests would have to be performed by the hospital, and police would need a search warrant to review the results. The sheriff also noted they would need a search warrant to obtain Woods' phone records to see if he could have been distracted by his phone at the time of the crash.

Woods' SUV was the only vehicle involved in the crash, and Woods was the only occupant of the vehicle. He suffered "significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery," Dr. Anish Mahajan, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center chief medical officer and interim CEO, said Tuesday.

Mahajan said Woods suffered "comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones," along with "additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle" and "trauma to the muscle and soft-tissue of the leg."

Dr. Andrew Pollak, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told CBS News these injuries will "definitely affect his golf game."

"In many ways, he will likely need to relearn parts of the swing," Pollak said.

Pollak said Woods' injuries sounded similar to those of NFL quarterback Alex Smith, who suffered a gruesome fracture in his leg after taking a sack in 2018. Smith almost lost his leg as a result of a major infection that followed the injury. Pollak noted that Woods' road to recovery would be much easier than Smith's if he can avoid a similar infection.

Carter Evans and Norah O'Donnell contributed reporting.

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