Emergency responders needed to use the Jaws of Life to free Tiger Woods from his vehicle after he got into an accident on Feb. 23. Since that fateful day, the legendary golfer has remained in the headlines as the story surrounding his devastating accident has taken several turns.
Yet, more than a month later, the public still doesn’t know the true cause of the single-car accident that resulted in career-threatening injuries.
However, detectives do.
But as the world waits for an answer, they refuse to answer a key question: What caused Woods to crash his SUV?
Tiger Woods suffered career-threatening injuries back in February
Tiger Woods’ life took a frightening turn on the morning of Feb. 23.
The legendary golf suffered serious injuries in a single-vehicle crash that occurred on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palo Verdes. According to a statement released by the LA County Sheriff’s Department, Woods’ Genesis GV80 SUV was traveling northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard when it crashed.
Firefighters and paramedics had to use the Jaws of Life—a tool used to pry open a vehicle to free anyone trapped inside—to extricate him from the wreck.
Woods then got rushed to a local hospital.
Although he didn’t sustain life-threatening injuries, he still suffered significant damage. The 45-year-old underwent surgery that same day to repair multiple leg injuries. Dr. Anish Mahajan of the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center said Woods suffered multiple open fractures to his lower right leg. During the emergency surgery, doctors inserted a rod into his tibia and screws and pins into his foot and ankle.
Since then, Woods has spent his time recovering in hopes of eventually playing golf again. During that time, detectives have been further investigating exactly how his devastating accident occurred.
Detectives are keeping the true cause of the golf star’s devastating accident a secret
On March 31, the LA County sheriff announced detectives have finally determined what caused Tiger Woods to crash his SUV.
Yet, we still don’t know the details about what occurred on the morning of Feb. 23. And detectives will keep the truth a secret due to unspecified privacy concerns for the 15-time champion.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said investigators need permission from Woods to release information about the crash, per ESPN. The sheriff’s department later released a statement on Twitter citing they must follow “California Vehicle Code Section 20012” when dealing with the release of accident reports.
Woods reportedly told deputies he did not know how the crash occurred. He also said he didn’t even remember driving.
Although investigators did not seek a search warrant to obtain blood samples from Woods, they did obtain one for the data recorder (commonly known as a black box) in his vehicle.
“We have all the contents of the black box; we’ve got everything,” Villanueva said. “It’s completed, signed, sealed, and delivered. However, we can’t release it without the permission of the people involved in the collision.”
What are the legal factors involved in the Woods case?
While Villanueva did acknowledge the department has reached out to Tiger Woods and his personnel, details will not emerge without the golf star’s permission.
After all, the law says so.
Because Woods was the only person injured in the accident, and with the sheriff stating he will not be charged with a crime, California law rests on the side of keeping the details under wraps. Only parties whose property sustained damage in an accident are entitled to a copy of the full accident report.
Overall, the state has restrictive public records laws that allow law enforcement to withhold copies of accident reports.
However, the explanation Villanueva provided didn’t fully add up for retired New York City Police Department sergeant and college professor Joseph Giacalone.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a department ever ask for permission like that,” he said, per ESPN. “What happens if his lawyers say ‘no, you can’t send it out now.’ And then where does that leave us?”
Giacalone further added that deputies likely wouldn’t have taken the same approach with a non-celebrity victim.
“I don’t think they would have asked any family member of us if they can come out with it,” he said.