LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles County Sheriff said detectives determined what caused Tiger Woods to crash with his SUV last month in Southern California, but would not release details on Wednesday, citing unspecified privacy concerns for the golf star.
Woods sustained serious injuries in the Feb.23 crash when he hit a raised midline around 7 a.m. at Rolling Hills Estates, just outside Los Angeles. The Genesis SUV he was driving crossed two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree on a downhill. that the police said is known to be wrecks. Woods is recovering from several surgeries in Florida.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva has been criticized for his comments on the crash, calling it “pure accident” and saying that there was no evidence of depreciation. Woods told members he didn’t know how the accident happened and couldn’t remember driving. He was unconscious when a witness first approached the mutilated SUV. But a sheriff’s deputy said the athlete later appeared in shock, but was aware and able to answer basic questions.
Investigators have not requested a search warrant for Woods’ blood samples, which may be subject to drug and alcohol testing. In 2017, Woods went to a clinic for help treating prescription drugs after a DUI charge in his home state of Florida.
Detectives, however, obtained a search warrant for the 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV data logger, known as the black box. Villanueva did not say Wednesday what data was found in the black box.
“A cause has been determined, the investigation is over,” Villanueva said during a live social media event Wednesday in response to a question posed by The Associated Press.
But Villanueva claimed investigators needed permission from Woods – who had previously called his yacht “Privacy” – to release information about the crash.
“We contacted Tiger Woods and his staff,” Villanueva said. “There are confidentiality issues when disclosing information about the investigation, so we’ll ask them if they are waiving confidentiality and then we can publish a full publication on all information about the accident.
Woods’ agent at Excel Sports, Mark Steinberg, did not immediately respond to an email.
“We have all the content in the black box, we have everything,” Villanueva said. “It is completed, signed, sealed and delivered. However, we cannot publish it without the permission of the people involved in the collision. ”
Greg Risling, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County district attorney, said in an email Wednesday that no felony or misdemeanor complaints against Woods had been filed with their office regarding the crash.
Villanueva’s statement on privacy issues did not make sense to Joseph Giacalone, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and retired New York Police Department sergeant, who criticized the sheriff’s response to the Woods incident from the start.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a department ask for such permission,” he said. “What if his lawyers say ‘no, you can’t send it now.’ And then, where does that leave us?
Giacalone said it was unlikely MPs would have sought permission from not famous victims in similar crashes to release information. If the sheriff’s reluctance stemmed from a potential medical episode while driving, Giacalone said authorities could simply say it was a medical emergency without giving further details.
“I don’t think they would have asked a member of our family if they could go out with it,” he said.
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Woods is from the Los Angeles area and was back home to host his PGA tournament, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, which ended two days before the crash. He was driving an SUV loaned to him by the tournament.
Woods never went an entire year without playing, dating back to his first PGA Tour event when he was 16 in high school.
Associated Press golf editor Doug Ferguson has contributed from Jacksonville, Florida.