Cause of Tiger Woods crash revealed as speed; athlete releases statement thanking fans, family for support


LOS ANGELES (AP/WJW) — Authorities announced Wednesday that speed was the main cause of a crash that seriously injured athlete Tiger Woods earlier this year.

Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was driving at speeds unsafe for road conditions and inability to negotiate a curve. Villanueva said Woods showed no signs of impairment.

Villanueva said it was determined that Woods was driving at speeds between 84 and 87 miles per hour prior to the crash. He was traveling at a speed of about 75 miles per hour when his SUV struck a tree. The speed limit in the area was 45 miles per hour.

Woods was not cited in the crash.

Villanueva had previously said detectives had determined the cause of the crash but he would not release it, citing privacy concerns and a purported need for Woods’ permission to divulge information.

Shortly after the announcement, Woods released a statement on social media thanking safety crews for assisting him and helping him at the scene of the crash.

“I will continue to focus on my recovery and family, and thank everyone for the overwhelming support and encouragement I’ve received throughout this very difficult time,” he said.

Woods, who is from the Los Angeles area, had been back home to host his PGA tournament, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, when the crash happened on Feb. 23.

He was driving an SUV loaned to him by the tournament when he struck a raised median in Rolling Hills Estates, just outside Los Angeles. The SUV crossed through two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree on a downhill stretch that police said is known for wrecks.

The athlete is in Florida recovering from multiple surgeries. Woods has never gone an entire year without playing, dating back to his first PGA Tour event as a 16-year-old in high school.

Rory McIlroy, a four-time major golf champion who lives near Woods, said he visited him on March 21.

“Spent a couple hours with him, which was nice. It was good to see him,” McIlroy said from the Masters on Tuesday. “It was good to see him in decent spirits. When you hear of these things and you look at the car and you see the crash, you think he’s going to be in a hospital bed for six months. But he was actually doing better than that.”

Villanueva faced criticism for weeks for his comments about the crash, including calling it “purely an accident” and saying there was no evidence of impairment. Documents show that Woods told deputies he did not know how the crash occurred and didn’t remember driving.

Detectives searched the data recorder of the 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV, known as a black box. Investigators did not seek a search warrant, however, for Woods’ blood samples, which could be screened for drugs and alcohol.

In 2017, Woods checked himself into a clinic for help in dealing with prescription drug medication after a DUI charge in his home state of Florida.

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