Questions remain as investigators REFUSE to reveal cause of Tiger Woods SUV crash... unless golf star says so
Woods, 45, suffered a litany of serious injuries in the February 23 crash just outside of Los Angeles when the car in which he was traveling crossed two lanes of traffic and crashed into a tree in a stretch of road which police say is well-known for car wrecks.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva had previously stated that there was no evidence to suggest that Woods was impaired by drugs or alcohol, calling the crash "purely an accident," with Woods telling deputies that he didn't have any memory of the crash.Also on rt.com ‘He’s not dead’: Golf fans baffled by ‘bizarre’ tribute to Tiger Woods planned by fellow players
Woods was initially said to be unconscious following the wreck but was later reported to be in shock but able to answer basic questions from medics and deputies.
Investigators did not pursue a warrant to obtain samples of the golf star's blood which could be screened for evidence of drugs or alcohol. In 2017, Woods submitted to a clinic to help him overcome an addiction to prescription medication following a DUI charge in Florida.
However, detectives did obtain a warrant for a data recorder which was on board Woods' SUV, similar to a plane's 'black box', which may have registered details related to the accident - but Villanueva refused to reveal Wednesday what they had been learned from it, prompting a wave of speculation online.
"This is a really bad look for Los Angeles," wrote one fan online. "Everyone I know said Sheriff's would cover for Tiger. And now, looks like that's what's happening."
Another person wondered: "Since when are car crashes on public roads attended to by public servants covered by privacy protections?"
This is a really bad look for Los Angeles. Everyone I know said Sheriff's would cover for Tiger. And now, looks like that's what's happening. It doesn't help him to enable, & it really looks awful for L.A.— Sharon (@quincy59) April 1, 2021
Since when are car crashes on public roads attended to by public servants covered by privacy protections?— farbie z (@farbiez) March 31, 2021
"A cause has been determined, the investigation has concluded," Villanueva told the Associated Press, before saying that they require permission from the notoriously private Woods to release specific information about the crash.
"We have reached out to Tiger Woods and his personnel,” Villanueva added. "There’s some privacy issues on releasing information on the investigation so we’re going to ask them if they waive the privacy and then we will be able to do a full release on all the information regarding the accident.
"We have all the contents of the black box, we’ve got everything. It’s completed, signed, sealed and delivered. However, we can’t release it without the permission of the people involved in the collision."
The release of accident reports is governed under California Vehicle Code Section 20012. When we are able, we intend to release the information learned during the traffic collision investigation involving @TigerWoods.— LA County Sheriffs (@LASDHQ) April 1, 2021
The LA County sheriff's department subsequently released a tweet to say that Woods' accident, and the release of information related to it, is governed by California Vehicle Code which prohibits them from releasing full details, though they said that they will do so "when [they] are able".
But according to Criminal Justice professor Joseph Giacalone, the type of privacy being afforded to Woods by the sheriff's department most likely wouldn't have been offered to a person who doesn't have Woods' public profile.
"I don’t think I’ve ever seen a department ever ask for permission like that," he told AP. "What happens if his lawyers say ‘no, you can’t send it out now.’ And then where does that leave us?"
The crash ended Woods' hopes of playing in this month's Masters Tournament in Augusta where he was hoping to make his return to top-level golf, leading to questions as to whether he will ever be able to return close to the form which saw him previously claim the Masters title on five separate occasions - including a shock win in 2019.Also on rt.com ‘I am so grateful’: Golf icon Tiger Woods returns home from hospital weeks after having rod, screws and pins inserted into leg