Woods ‘unaware’ how badly he was injured after shock crash
A police officer who was among the first on the scene after Tiger Woods crashed his car in Los Angeles on Tuesday, said the golfing great was conscious and "calm" but was seemingly unaware of the extent of his injuries.
Carlos Gonzalez, a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, told the Today show in the US on Wednesday (local time) that Woods was able to identify himself immediately after the wreck but wasn't "aware" of the severity of his injuries.
"Mr. Woods seemed calm," Mr Gonzalez said, according to Fox News.
"I don't think he was aware of how gravely he was injured at the time. It could be a mixture of adrenaline. It could have been shock … I don't know if he had time to fully assess his injuries.
"I asked him, 'Can you tell me your first name?' He looked at me and said, 'Tiger.' It took me a half-second, but I saw his face and I thought, 'Oh, yeah, you're Tiger Woods.'"
Mr Gonzalez noted that Woods did not seem like he was in distress so he waited for the fire department to come and safely remove him from the wreck.
Woods, 45, suffered "multiple leg injuries" after being involved in a "single vehicle rollover" collision on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles around 7am (2am AEDT) local time.
While police did not rule out speed as a contributing factor, Mr Gonzalez said the road where the crash took place is a "hotspot" for accidents.
"That specific stretch of roadway is one of our trouble spots," he said. "Our locals in Ranchos Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates know that it's a hotspot for traffic collisions as well as speed. In my experience as a deputy … I have seen many collisions. The nature of his vehicle, the fact that he was wearing a seatbelt, I would say that it greatly increased the likelihood that it saved his life."
Mr Gonzalez continued: "I've seen fatal traffic collisions so I will say that it is very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive."
EXTENT OF WOODS' INJURIES REVEALED
Woods was recovering in a Los Angeles hospital on Wednesday (local time) after surgery for serious leg injuries sustained in the crash that police said he was lucky to survive.
The US golf legend was driving in a Los Angeles suburb on a road notorious for fatal accidents when his car crashed, rolling several times.
Woods was "awake and responsive" following the horror car crash, as the golfing great's doctors revealed the extent of his injuries.
A statement from his management said he had undergone a "long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle".
Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer at Harbour-UCLA Medical Centre where Woods was treated, said he underwent "emergency surgery by orthopaedic trauma specialists".
"Communited open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilised by inserting a rod into the tibia," Dr Mahajan said.
"Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilised with a combination of screws and pins.
"Trauma to the muscle and soft-tissue of the leg required surgical release of the covering of the muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling".
Woods' management said was recovering in his hospital room, and thanked doctors, hospital staff, and the Los Angeles police and fire departments.
It comes after reports that Woods was seen leaving a hotel in an "agitated and impatient" state before the incident.
TMZ reported a "major network television show" was being shot at the hotel where Woods was staying.
Production sources told the gossip site that Woods was "driving his SUV very fast" and almost hit the director's car as he arrived at 7am.
"The director was shaken enough to tell production staff about it after he parked," TMZ reported.
"A crew member who saw Tiger as he got in his SUV at the hotel told TMZ, once Tiger got in his vehicle, there was a delay in driving off and he appeared 'agitated and impatient'. The crew member says once the delay was over, Tiger 'took off fast'."
TMZ and Fox News reported that Woods had been running late for morning lessons he was giving.
Police said it would be "several weeks" before they finish their investigation into the incident, which left woods with "serious injuries to both legs".
He hit a median strip in the high speed accident and travelled "several hundred feet" and rolled over several times.
Los Angeles authorities said Woods was able to speak to his rescuers, who had arrived at the scene within minutes of the crash, shortly after 7am Tuesday, local time.
Woods showed "no signs of impairment" and was not tested for drugs and alcohol, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villaneuva.
He was taken to a nearby hospital for surgery on both legs and was in "a stable condition with serious injuries" after the crash, said Chief Daryl Osby of the LA County Fire Department.
Sherif Villaneuva said Woods was driving a large, loaned 2021 Genesis SUV when he appeared to lose control in the hilly suburb of Rancho Palos Verdes.
"That area has a high frequency of accidents, it's not uncommon," said Sheriff Villaneuva, adding that initial evidence showed there were "no skid marks, no braking".
"So apparently the first contact was with the centre median, and from there it crossed into the opposing lane of traffic, hit the curb, hit a tree and there were several rollovers during that process," he said.
"It was several hundred feet away so that indicates that they were going at a relatively greater speed than normal."
Chief Osby said Woods was "extricated" from the crash, which was reported to police shortly after it happened, through the car windscreen.
"It was brought to my attention that he had serious leg injuries," said Chief Osby.
He said Woods was freed by firefighters using a halligan tool and axe and that the jaws of life were at the scene but were not used.
Woods was taken to the nearby UCLA Medical Centre for surgery, where a group of fans soon gathered in vigil, according to local media reports.
Aerial footage of the site shows it lying on its side surrounded by wreckage about 10m off the side of the road.
Woods agent Mark Steinberg earlier confirmed Woods sustained "multiple" leg injuries.
"He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support," Steinberg reportedly told Gold Digest.
LA'S CBS affiliate reported a spokesman said Woods has "non life-threatening injuries".
There are also local reports that two other cars that stopped to help Woods were hit by another vehicle.
Reports that Woods was removed by the "jaws of life" were incorrect, according to Los Angeles Sheriff Department spokesman Captain James Powers.
He told Fox News that he didn't know why the first statement released by the sheriff's department said that the jaws of life had been used, but that it was incorrect.
"It's just not an accurate statement … maybe somebody misunderstood or they assumed that 'extricate' meant … they … correlated that with the jaws of life," he said on Fox News.
"But that was not an accurate statement.
"All I know is that the fire department extricated him. I don't know how they did that. I know they didn't use the jaws of life."
Capt Powers said he had visited the crash site and that he believed from what he learned there that Woods was conscious when he was taken to hospital.
He said that it appeared he had been travelling at high speed.
"It was kind of a steep climb and he was coming downhill and I know that speeds can increase just by the momentum of the vehicle and so I would definitely believe that speed is a contributing factor to this but under the circumstances I don't have anything else," he said.
Woods is one of the world's greatest golfers with 82 all-time PGA victories, and has been recovering from recent back surgery.
He was in LA to host the Genesis Invitational golf tournament over the past weekend.
He had spent yesterday with celebrities including Jada Pinkett Smith, who posted well wishes on social media.
Prayers up for the GOAT @TigerWoods who was in an accident this morning. Was just with him yesterday. Don’t take not even a MOMENT for granted! I know you’re good because your Tiger within is a beast!!!— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) February 23, 2021
Meanwhile celebrities including golfing legend Jack Nicklaus and former president Donald Trump sent messages of support.
"Get well soon, Tiger. You are a true champion!", Mr Trump said in a statement tweeted by his spokesman.
Woods previously crashed his SUV in 2009 in Florida during the highly publicised break-up of his marriage and in 2017 he was arrested by police who found him unconscious behind the wheel of his car.
He later said that he had taken prescription medication before driving and that he wasn't aware that it would make him pass out.
The LA County Sheriffs has released a statement confirming details of the latest accident.
"On February 23, 2021, at approximately 7:12am, LASD responded to a single vehicle rollover traffic collision on the border of Rolling Hill Estates and Ranchos Palos Verdes. The vehicle was travelling northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard, at Blackhorse Road, when it crashed. The vehicle sustained major damage.
"The driver and sole occupant was identified as PGA golfer, Eldrick "Tiger" Woods. Mr Woods was extracted from the wreck with the "jaws of life" by Los Angeles County firefighters and paramedics, then transported to a local hospital by ambulance for his injuries.
"The traffic investigation is being conducted by investigators from LASD Lomita Station".
Originally published as Woods 'unaware' how badly he was injured after shock crash