USA TODAY US Edition

Tiger initially found unconsciou­s after crash

LA sheriff gets warrant for black box from SUV

- Josh Peter and Brent Schrotenbo­er

TORRANCE, Calif. – Tiger Woods told sheriff’s deputies after crashing an SUV that he could not remember driving and he did not know how the collision happened, according to an affidavit for a search warrant used to obtain the “black box” of the vehicle he was driving Feb. 23.

Woods later said the same thing at the hospital, where he was treated for multiple leg injuries suffered during the crash, according to a copy of the search warrant affidavit obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

Woods initially was unconsciou­s after the crash in Southern California when a resident found the golfer trapped in a loaner vehicle and with blood on his face and chin, according to the affidavit, which was submitted by Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s Deputy Johann Schoegl.

“The deputies asked him how the collision occurred” at the scene of the crash, according to the affidavit. “Driver said he did not know and did not even remember driving . ... Driver was treated for his injuries at the hospital and was asked there again how the collision occurred. He repeated that he did not know and did not remember driving.”

Schloegl said he believed informatio­n stored on the black box – such as the speed the sport utility vehicle was traveling at the time of the crash – would assist in determinin­g how and why the collision occurred, according to the affidavit.

Data from the vehicle Woods was driving “constitute­s evidence that tends to show the commission of a felony or misdemeano­r offense,” according to the form filled out to obtain the search warrant. But Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said the ongoing investigat­ion into the crash is not a criminal investigat­ion.

“The investigat­ors in the accident, or in the collision, they did a search warrant to seize in essence the black box of the vehicle,” Villanueva said Wednesday. “And that’s all it is. And they’re going to go through it and see if they can find out what was the performanc­e of the vehicle, what was happening at the time of impact. And with that, they’ll have more informatio­n they can attribute the cause of the accident. And that’s all it is, and we’ll leave it at that, OK?”

Villanueva also addressed why the sheriff ’s department did not seek a warrant to obtain a sample of Woods’ blood that could be used to determine whether someone was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“In order to seek a search warrant, you have to have evidence of impair

ment,” said Villanueva, who had previously stated there was no evidence that Woods was impaired at the time of the collision. “Absent the evidence of impairment … you’re not going to get a search warrant. It’s not getting signed by the judge.

“And investigat­ors will determine what is needed to determine the accident, or the traffic collision.”

Car accident reconstruc­tion experts told USA TODAY Sports that available evidence in the case indicated that Woods was not paying attention and had a “very delayed response” to the emergency when his vehicle, a Genesis GV80, left the road before crashing that day.

One said it looked like a classic case of being asleep at the wheel, because Woods’ vehicle went straight into a median instead of staying with the road as it curved right. He then kept going straight into opposing lanes, then off the road, where he hit a tree and his vehicle rolled over. The vehicle traveled about 400 feet after hitting the median. There was no apparent evidence of braking on the road.

In 2017, police found Woods asleep at the wheel in Florida. He was arrested for drunken driving, and several drugs were found in his system then, including Ambien and Vicodin, according to a toxicology report released later. Recently, Woods, 45, has been recovering from a surgical procedure on his back.

Villanueva said Woods is “in good spirits.”

“Which is a good sign,” Villanueva said. “And hopefully he’ll get himself back on his feet some point down the road.”

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