Feb. 25 (UPI) — Authorities in Los Angeles said they will not pursue charges against golf legend Tiger Woods after he was involved in a single-vehicle rollover earlier in the week.
“We don’t contemplate any charges whatsoever in this crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Wednesday in a virtual press conference. “This remains an accident. An accident is not a crime. They do happen, unfortunately.”
Woods sustained serious injuries to his right leg and ankle on Tuesday morning after his vehicle struck the median near the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles.
His vehicle then crossed into ongoing traffic before hitting a curb and rolling several times and coming to a stop in an embankment, Villanueva said.
“That stretch of road has had quite a few accidents over the years. In fact, from January of last year until to Tiger Woods’ incident there’s a total of 13 accidents, four of them with injuries. So definitely this stretch of road is challenging and if you’re not paying attention, you can see what happens,” he said.
Woods underwent lengthy surgery to set comminuted open fractures in his right leg and was recovering at the hospital, a statement published on his Twitter account early Wednesday said.
Following surgery, Woods was “awake responsive and recovering in his hospital room,” it said.
As a traffic investigation is still underway, Villanueva responded to a reporter’s question during the press briefing on whether the accident may reach the threshold for a reckless driving charge stating it didn’t meet those standards.
“No,” he said flatly. “A reckless driving charge has a lot of elements into it and this is purely an accident. There’ll be a cause of it and there’ll be a vehicle code attached to that cause … but that’s an infraction and a recklessly driving is actually more than an infraction, it’s a misdemeanor crime that has a lot of elements attached to it and this is nothing, nothing like that.”
Villanueva said no sobriety test was performed on Woods following the accident, reiterating that the 45-year-old golfer showed no signs of impairment.
Woods previously pleaded guilty to reckless driving charges in 2017 and was cited for careless driving in 2009 in connection to hitting a tree and a fire hydrant outside his Florida home.
Medical experts have said that they expect Woods to face a long recovery as orthopedic trauma specialists inserted a rod into his leg to stabilize both his tabula and fibula bones.
Rods, screws and pins were also used to stabilize bones in his foot and ankle, which Villanueva said had been crushed.
Dr. Joseph Purita, an arthroscopic and orthopedic surgeon, said if everything goes well Woods may be able to play golf in 2022.
“I think there is a good chance he’ll be able to walk again,” the Florida-based doctor said. “He may have a bit of a limp, but he’s a superb athlete and is groomed to work at it. If anybody is going to succeed, he probably would.”