Research and insight from 3 crash-reconstruction experts indicates Woods 'wasn't paying attention at all,' USA Today reports
Golfer Tiger Woods might have been asleep at the wheel when he crashed Feb. 23 in suburban Los Angeles, resulting in traumatic injuries to his right leg, ankle and foot that required emergency surgery and left his competitive future in question, USA Today reported.
According to three forensic experts who reconstruct automobile-accident scenes for a living, Woods was not paying attention when he drifted off a four-lane road, crashed through a road sign and crossed the oncoming two lanes of traffic, hit a tree and rolled the vehicle onto its side. Woods, 45, had to be cut out of the luxury SUV and was transported to a local hospital. He remains hospitalized in Los Angeles after at least two rounds of surgeries.
The experts said the evidence does not indicate that he lost control of the vehicle, a Genesis GV80 sport-utility vehicle that was on loan from the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational, because of excessive speed. They also said the evidence indicates that Woods applied the brakes late in the crash sequence.
“To me, this is like a classic case of falling asleep behind the wheel, because the road curves and his vehicle goes straight,” said Jonathan Cherney, a consultant who provides car-accident analysis as an expert witness in court cases.
Cherney, a former police detective, examined the crash site, on Hawthorne Boulevard between Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates, in person.
“It’s a drift off the road, almost like he was either unconscious, suffering from a medical episode or fell asleep and didn’t wake up until he was off the road, and that’s where the brake application came in.”
Felix Lee, an accident-reconstruction expert with the Expert Institute, told USA Today that “speed wasn’t that much of an issue. It was just some kind of inattention that caused the curb strike.”
Rami Hashish, principal at the National Biomechanics Institute, which analyzes the cause of accidents, said of the evidence: “It was suggesting he wasn’t paying attention at all.”
The damage to the vehicle and to Woods would have been much greater if he had been traveling much over the posted 45-mph limit, Hashish said.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva called the crash “purely an accident” and said there was no evidence of impairment or medication that led to the incident.
Woods was not charged, and the crash remained under investigation.
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