The police officer who was first on the scene of Tiger Woods’ car crash in Los Angeles says that the 15-time major champion is lucky to be alive.
Deputy Carlos Gonzalez of the LA Sheriff’s Department responded to a 911 call from a property close to the scene of Woods’ accident in Rancho Palos Verdes early on Tuesday morning.
He reported finding the 15-time major champion conscious and still seated in the driver’s seat of his Genesis 2021 mid-size SUV. According to Gonzalez, Woods was still wearing his seatbelt and was “calm and lucid” when he arrived.
“I’ve been doing this for a while and I’ve seen fatal traffic collisions so I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive,” said Gonzalez.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva added that the build of Woods’ vehicle had also likely saved his life. He said: "The interior was more or less in tact which gave him the cushion to survive what otherwise would have been a fatal crash."
It is not yet clear what caused the accident but officers indicated that there was no evidence of impairment on Woods’ part.
It appears from initial investigations as though the car driven by Woods was travelling at high speed when it hit the centre median. It then collided with the curb and a tree before flipping over an undetermined number of times, finally coming to rest several hundred feet away from the initial impact. There were no documented skid marks at the scene.
Officers added that the specific stretch of roadway where Woods’ accident occurred is a “hotspot for traffic collisions as well as speed”.
Deputy Gonzalez noted that the speed limit is 45mph but that he has clocked people going more than 80mph.
Other key takeaways from the first responders’ press conference include the following:
- Woods was extricated through the windshield, put on a spinal board and ‘packaged’ before being taken by ambulance to the nearby Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre.
- Officers were required to attend another unrelated traffic collision just down the road from Woods’ accident which is believed to have been caused by people straining to see the accident.
- The airbags in the vehicle did deploy.
- Weather was not a factor in the accident.
- Woods was able to identify himself when reached by first responders.
- Contrary to earlier reports, the “jaws of life” were not used to extricate Woods from the vehicle. Instead, an axe and pry-bar were used to separate the vehicle from the 45-year-old.
Woods' injuries, believed to include compound fractures in both legs and a shattered ankle, are understood to be "moderate to critical" but "non life-threatening".