Why isn’t Tiger Woods being charged with speeding for his February car crash?

President Donald J. Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to golfer Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods was in a terrible car accident back in February. He was driving himself, with no one else in the SUV, and he crashed into a tree. He had to be airlifted to emergency care, and his body got pretty mangled in the crash. It’s likely that Tiger will need months, if not years, of physical rehab. The LA County Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation into the crash, because there were significant questions about the crash and because Tiger is a VIP. As it turns out, shock of shocks, the investigation wasn’t actually that thorough. The Sheriff’s Dept didn’t even do blood work to determine if Tiger was on medication or under the influence in any way. They did determine that he was speeding: he was doing 87 MPH in a 45 MPH zone. He’s not going to be charged with that though. Weird.

Tiger Woods has released a statement following the conclusion of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office investigation into his February car crash — but the pro golfer didn’t mention that he was found to have been speeding nearly 40 miles over the speed limit at the time.

“In the last few days, I received words from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department that their investigation regarding my traffic accident back on February 23rd in Los Angeles has been completed and closed,” Woods, 45, said in a statement shared on Twitter Wednesday. “I am so grateful to both of the good Samaritans who came to assist me and called 911,” he continued, also sharing his gratefulness to the first responders who helped him and took him to the hospital. “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.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that speed was the primary cause of Woods’ single-car rollover crash. Woods needed surgery after the accident and returned home in mid-March. Villanueva said Woods was driving between 84 and 87 mph in a 45-mph zone at the time of the crash in Rancho Palos Verdes. Woods’ car struck a sign in the center divider, sheared through a tree and landed in the brush alongside the road. His vehicle struck the tree at 75 mph.

The sheriff said that there were “no signs of impairment,” and that Woods will receive no citations for the accident. He also asserted that Woods, who doesn’t have “any recollection of the incident,” had been “cooperative” and provided permission to share the details of the findings.

Captain James Powers also said during the Wednesday press conference that nothing from Woods’ cell phone would indicate distracted driving and that there was “no evidence of any increased speed or rushed behavior in footage from prior to the accident.” Villanueva asserted to reporters that rumors of preferential treatment for Woods in the wake of the crash are “absolutely false.”

[From People]

Part of me thinks that the investigation would have been more thorough if anyone else had been hurt in the crash. Like, if Tiger had passengers in the car, or if he hit another car, then there would be toxicology reports and they probably would have Breathalyzed him before they put him in the helicopter. As it is, Tiger was the only one who was injured and the Sheriff’s Department must have been like “his injuries are punishment enough.” While I understand that… it’s still weird to me that he’s literally not going to be charged with ANYTHING! It’s genuinely a crime to speed. In my state, going 87 mph in a 45 limit constitutes reckless driving, punishable by jail sentences, suspended licenses and fines. While I’m glad Tiger didn’t hurt anyone but himself, the fact is… he could have hurt a lot of people, driving that way.

Tiger Woods' Genesis GV80 is removed from the crash scene

President Donald J. Trump presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to golfer Tiger Woods

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Backgrid.

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38 Responses to “Why isn’t Tiger Woods being charged with speeding for his February car crash?”

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  1. K says:

    The immunity of the rich and privileged. Same old story.

    • LadyMTL says:

      This, exactly. If his name had been Timothy Woods and he was some random schmoe going nearly double the speed limit (!!) I have a feeling that it wouldn’t have all been wrapped up so neatly / so quickly.

    • ab says:

      Right? Nothing to see here. 87 in a 45 is absolutely obscene, he is so lucky to not have killed someone in another car or himself!

  2. MsIam says:

    This definitely would have been a reckless driving charge for anyone else. Hopefully he will at least have to pay for the damage done to public property.

  3. Millenial says:

    There’s something kinda odd about this crash, IMO. I don’t think Tiger is well.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      nor do I. I think he:

      A) fell asleep at the wheel; OR

      B) was under the influence of SOMETHING that either impaired him OR made him fall asleep at the wheel; OR

      C) (g-d forgive me) he was trying to kill himself.

      almost double the limit (90 mph!) on a dangerous curve with no signs of braking? things that make you go “hmmmm….”

    • emu says:

      Agree. Thought that when I saw he never touched the brakes. # C from whatWHAT?

    • Darlene says:

      I don’t think he’s well either. We haven’t seen him since the accident, and haven’t heard his voice. Just statements he’s allegedly prepared.

  4. Boxy Lady says:

    Maybe they think he fell asleep or was suicidal? They cited HIIPA regulations for not releasing the cause of the crash right away so I thought the cause may have been health related rather than regular ol’ speeding.

    • Sandra says:

      This is the most plausible reason I can think of. We had a horrible accident in my town a few years back where the driver had narcolepsy, swerved off the road and hit and killed a kid. He wasn’t charged as he had a medical issue.

      Also this was a single car crash as someone else mentioned. If no one else was hurt, he did enough damage to himself.

    • susan says:

      drugs (opiates) +/- alcohol. you don’t “step on the gas instead of the brake” and accelerate like that unintentionally UNLESS you’re thusly impaired.

      suicide? possibly. but if it wasn’t, then it likely will be in the future as it becomes clear that his leg is destroyed. not a chance of him playing again. wonder if he will be able to even walk normally.

  5. TheOriginalMia says:

    As someone who deals with police and car accidents a lot, it’s really not that odd he wasn’t charged. It was single car crash. They didn’t clock him speeding at the time of the crash. If police weren’t there to see him speeding or crashing, they usually don’t charge. Not to say that can’t, but he committed the offense against himself. There was no public structure (ex. light pole) that was destroyed by the accident (amazingly). My cousin was charged with reckless driving because he took out a couple of light poles and damaged a guardrail when he crashed his car. He had to make restitution to the state as well.

    Tiger is lucky to be alive. That’s a well-made car.

    • minx says:

      Yes, and wouldn’t he just get a ticket anyway? Not arrested.

    • schmootc says:

      I crashed my car about three years ago now. I was driving too fast for the conditions (it was pouring buckets) and I think my tires might have needed to be replaced. I hit standing water and hydroplaned into the concrete divider from the freeway fast lane. I’d guess I was going at least 60+. I was very lucky because I was fine and I didn’t hit anyone else, but I literally thought I was going to die. It scared the ever-living crap out of me. If I’d been punished in some fashion, it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference – the crash itself caused me to really drive differently. Definitely slower the majority of the time and driving in rain freaks me out.

      So yeah, I can see why police often wouldn’t do anything in this type of situation. I didn’t get a ticket or anything, though no first responders were called when I wrecked. I actually drove my car home – granted, it was in second gear (couldn’t get it out of gear) with hazards on via surface streets and my car was towed to the shop from my house (totaled, of course), but I did drive home.

    • Christin says:

      This was a great safety ad for that vehicle.

      My relatives had two alleged “unintended acceleration” single-vehicle accidents with the same car. First time, their son (who was a long-time substance abuser) wrecked the car with the elderly parents as passengers. A few years later, the elderly (89 yo) father crashed the same car with his wife as passenger.

      Both accidents occurred near an exit or sharp turn that could easily be missed. I have always found it dubious that both could be due to malfunction. My assumption is that because it was single-vehicle and no fatalities, that they were given more latitude (no deeper investigation, tests, charges, etc.). How they kept insurance on a vehicle they claimed had such a malfunction, I don’t know.

      I am surprised, though, when Tiger’s incident showed obvious signs of excessive speed and apparent lack of vehicle control. Add to that the hotel witnesses who claim he was driving fast out of the parking lot.

      • harperc says:

        >This was a great safety ad for that vehicle.

        I am seeing online that sales have gone up after Tiger’s crash. It’s the first time many people had heard of the brand.

        It also got is a top safety pick, but there’s no better demonstration of safety than someone surving a head-on high speed crash into a tree.

      • AmB says:

        – elderly parents
        – elderly (89 yo) father … his wife
        That poor woman.

  6. Mrs. Peel says:

    Tiger told us he wasn’t drunk or high or texting when he was speeding twice the legal limit – that’s a wrap Lou – Chief Wiggum

    • Ann says:

      Bake em away, toys… love a Simpsons reference!

      I suspect he was high. Although it’s reasonable too that Tiger was just speeding. I don’t believe a lot of this. But it’s HIPAA territory so that is that. Everything is wrapped up in a neat little package! 😉

  7. Tiffany says:

    When I was in my 20’s, I had to be admitted to the emergency room from a doctor’s appointment and one of the 1st things that did when they had me on the stretcher was draw blood from my arm.

    So, there is blood work out there and if the Sheriff Dept did their actual job, they could have gotten a warrant just for the results.

  8. april says:

    They said they could not charge him because there were no witnesses.

  9. jbyrdku says:

    Tiger Woods tried to kill himself.

    • molly says:

      Tiger is going down the same destructive path as a lot of child stars. My heart breaks for his kids, because that man is a mess.

  10. J ferber says:

    Just hear to say Laura Bush ignored a stop sign and killed a boy, her former high school classmate. Was she tested for alcohol or drugs? Hell no. She was super rich. It was buried under the carpet and most people don’t know about it? Imagine if that were Hillary? It would be headline news till this day.

    • WithTheAmerican says:

      Yup considered rude to point out Melania was a nude model and Laura Bush killed someone, but we can publish Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails during an election and publish gossip based on them all day long.

    • lisa says:

      she was age 17 and it was 1963. I assume the laws and procedures are different now and AFAIK she was not that kind of rich or well connected as a teen.

  11. Plums says:

    well the doctors had to know what was in his blood when they operated on him, so the information is out there, but it isn’t shocking to me that it hasn’t been made public if/how he was incapacitated or that he wasn’t charged with anything. He was driving recklessly but didn’t endanger or injure anyone but himself. No private property damage apart from the SUV that was totaled, and I doubt the owner would be interested in suing him over it. No witnesses but Tiger, and he says he doesn’t remember that morning. He could be lying, but it’s probably true given the trauma of such a violent wreck.

    I don’t blame them for not citing him or pressing charges. You want to make an example of someone if you cite or arrest them for committing a crime that only hurts themselves, but Tiger made an example of himself. He’ll be lucky if he walks again. A citation for reckless driving feels needless.

  12. elle says:

    Do we really need tRump pictures to accompany this? We’re no longer required to look at him. Unless it has bars in front of it, I don’t ever want to see his face again.

  13. TeeBee says:

    you just know there were loads of people involved in crafting that statement, and Woods’ as well. Case closed people, move on.

    Absolutely in other circumstances, involving a less celebrated person, the cause of the crash would be more thoroughly investigated. Yes, people speed, but when a devastating crash with major injuries results, you don’t expect it to be brushed under the carpet. It wasn’t inclement weather, poor driving conditions; a person must have been driving recklessly, for A REASON, and he is just DAMN LUCKY he did not injure or kill another person, let along himself. I bet he was under the influence, I read somewhere he has/had prescriptions for significant pain medication due to an ongoing back injury… But Woods must be protected, but it looks like he needs protection from himself the most.

    I have this very very sad feeling that Woods will face a much grimmer fate if he is not held accountable for his destructive behaviour and given significant help. And all these enablers will have to live with the fact they let it happen.

  14. emu says:

    When I first read that he never touched the brakes it seemed like a suicide attempt…

  15. Julia K says:

    Privileged medical report? is he on a new med for a new diagnosis which is no one’s business right now? Adverse reaction to this new med? Drowsiness, dizziness, impaired judgement? Just throwing this out there; seizure disorder related to trauma and closed head injury? Post concussion syndrome? Lots of reasons imo for law enforcement to back off. I have no personal knowledge except for knowing my brother in similar situation years ago.

  16. MangoAngelesque says:

    And yet I went through an intersection, turning left on a yellow arrow, and a tetchy cop gave me a ticket for it. Didn’t have to speed to get through the turn or anything, he just didn’t think I should’ve gone on the yellow arrow IN CASE it turned red faster than I thought it would (it didn’t), so I had to go to a night of traffic school and pay a ticket.

    I should take up golf.

  17. Cannibell says:

    It probably would have been a different outcome if he a) weren’t Tiger Woods b) there’d been another car involved c) he wasn’t alone in the car.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I think there is more to this than what is in the press. You don’t usually get a ticket for speeding unless you are caught in the act. The car will have information but for court you would need more context. Did it malfunction? Did he need to break for some reason and hit the gas instead? Did he have a medical condition (example: seizure) that caused speeding? Was it a suicide attempt? Was he on drugs/alcohol? Additional investigation would have been required if anyone else was hurt. In this case, the only injuries are his. He will probably never walk again. Adding a traffic ticket to this just seems cruel. We criminalize everything in the US. I think we should change that. The problem won’t be solved by criminalizing more rich people. We need to decriminalize how we treat poor people. I think this case warranted some compassion from the authorities. I’m glad they gave it.

  19. Aries-Mira says:

    He’s a celebrity. Rules and laws don’t apply to them like it does to us peasants.

  20. Anonymous says:

    @Aries-Mira: I get what you are saying. What do you feel would have been the appropriate action in this case?