LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — The cause of Tiger Woods’ February car crash was speed, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The athlete was seriously injured in the wreck.
The golfer was driving between 84-87 mph as he rounded a corner on Hawthorne Blvd., the sheriff said. He added Woods’ car hit a tree at 75 mph. The speed limit posted is 45 mph. They examined the car’s data recorder, which showed Woods never hit the brake.
Capt. James Powers said Woods may have panicked. He showed no signs of impairment or intoxication. At a news conference Wednesday, Powers explained they did not have enough probable cause to get a search warrant for a blood test.
“That is not preferential treatment,” Powers said. He added past behavior cannot be used as probable cause to get a search warrant.
In a tweet, Woods thanked first responders, “for helping me so expertly at the scene and getting me safely to the hospital.” He did not comment on the sheriff’s office’s determination that he was speeding at nearly twice the posted limit.
Powers said there were no witnesses to the crash, and Woods does not remember what happened.
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. Woods gave the office permission to disclose the cause.
“Tiger woods and his representatives have been very cooperative throughout this investigative process,” Sheriff Villanueva 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.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.