Tiger Woods is ' very fortunate to come out of this alive’, claimed the first police officer to arrive at the scene of the car crash involving the world's first billionaire golfer.
Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who handles traffic accidents for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) said at a news conference that when he had asked the injured man his name, the seemingly lucid and coherent athlete identified himself as ‘Tiger’.
Deputy Carlos Gonzalez was first on scene at Tiger Woods crash.— Jay O'Brien (@jayobtv) February 23, 2021
"I asked him what his name was. He told me his name was Tiger. That moment I immediately recognized him."
Gonzalez went on to say Woods was wearing his seatbelt and it likely saved his live. @CBS12 #TigerWoods pic.twitter.com/f6heOp3LZs
“At that point I immediately recognised him…He didn't seem concerned about his injuries, which is common in car accidents. They may be in shock, and pain not felt until later,” said Gonzalez.
“I spoke to him, I tried to keep him calm,” continued Gonzalez, who added that he opted to wait for paramedics and EMS officials from the Los Angeles Fire Department instead of attempting to extricate Woods from the driver's seat of his Genesis GV80.
The officer pointed out that Tiger Woods was wearing a seatbelt and that airbags had ‘deployed successfully’.
“I’ve seen many collisions, the nature of his vehicle and the fact that he was wearing a seatbelt, I would say that it greatly increased the likelihood that it saved his life,” said Deputy Carlos Gonzalez.
The officer also emphasised that the stretch of road where the accident had occurred was 'a hot spot for traffic collisions and speed'. The cause of the crash is yet to be determined.
As fire officials arrived at the scene of the accident, they resorted to using a Halligan tool and an axe to extricate the golf icon, who was rushed to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for immediate surgery on his two legs for “severe”, non life- threatening injuries including a compound fracture and a shattered ankle.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Woods’s SUV had played a significant role in saving his life.
“The cabin of the vehicle was more or less intact, the front end was totally destroyed, the bumpers, everything was destroyed, airbags deployed all of that,” Villaneuva was cited as saying by the New York Post.
According to Villanueva, Woods’ SUV was “going at a relatively greater speed than normal”.
“He was alive, he was conscious… He was not able to get up. That was not an option. There was no evidence of impairment. There was no effort to draw blood or anything like that,” added the Los Angeles County Sheriff when asked whether Woods might have been ‘under the influence’ at the time of the crash.
The weather was not a factor in the accident, according to the official, who said that the athlete’s car had hit signs and 'sheared' a tree.
“No skidmarks, no braking. Hit the curb, hit a tree, and there were several roll overs,” he said.
There was also a second accident when people driving past slowed down to look, yet no one was injured.
Golf celebrity Tiger Woods, 45, who is tied for the most PGA Tour wins in history sustained “multiple leg injuries” in a solo car crash near Los Angeles after his SUV rolled over while traversing steep terrain on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, at approximately 7:12 a.m. local time, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. A neighbor who heard the crash had called 911, according to the department report.
The golfer, who joined the PGA Tour in 1996, had been on his way to a Los Angeles golf course, to film for GolfTV. He had arrived in California earlier to host the PGA Genesis Invitational tournament, with Genesis giving him the GV80 SUV to drive for the week.
An investigation has been launched, with an impending probe to test whether Woods, who resides in Florida, had drugs or alcohol in his system.
Tiger Woods’ vehicle after the crash this morning that now has him in surgery for what his agent is calling “multiple leg injuries.” pic.twitter.com/VbI5qvyj8g— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 23, 2021
Woods, who turned professional in 1996 at the age of 20, was arrested in May 2017 on suspicion of driving under the influence near his home in Jupiter, Florida. He later plead guilty to reckless driving over the incident, claiming his condition was caused by prescribed medication.
The agent of the athlete, who has been elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame, Mark Steinberg, made a statement shortly after the crash.
“Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries. He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support.”