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Road where Tiger Woods crashed known for high speeds, sharp turns and danger, residents say

Tiger Woods' wrecked SUV lies on its side in the brush
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies investigate a crash involving Tiger Woods along Hawthorne Boulevard in Rancho Palos Verdes on Tuesday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The section of Hawthorne Boulevard in Rancho Palos Verdes where Tiger Woods lost control of his car Tuesday and was seriously injured in a rollover crash is known to local residents as a danger zone prone to accidents.

The crash occurred around 7 a.m. on a curvy, steep stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard near Blackhorse Road, where signs warn trucks to use lower gears when traveling downhill.

Donnie Nelson, a resident of Rolling Hills, said there are one or two serious crashes every year on the roadway.

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“Most of the time,” he said, “trucks come down the hill and lose their brakes.”

Nelson said he knows of at least one person who was seriously injured by a trash truck on the hill.

The speed limit is 45 mph, but “cars fly by you here.”

Others agreed.

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Bob Fong, 67, lives on Blackhorse Road, just north of where the crash occurred.

He noticed police cars at the intersection Tuesday morning and thought, “It must have been some big celebrity that crashed.”

Fong knows how tricky the curves on the steep Hawthorne Boulevard can be — so much so that near the crash site there is a runoff lane for use in emergencies.

“It’s a heavily trafficked area. There’s accidents all the time,” said Laureen Swing, a 15-year resident of Rancho Palos Verdes. “I think it’s almost a dangerous stretch of road.”

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Swing was walking her dog a block from the crash site Tuesday afternoon. She said she stays on the right side of the road when she drives there “because I’m just afraid of people wanting to go fast.”

“They don’t use turn signals sometimes when they switch lanes. I’ve almost found myself getting into an accident, trying to avoid another car cutting me off on that road. It’s pretty dangerous.”

She didn’t see Woods’ crash, but she said a van crossed the median on the same road a few years ago and nearly hit her.

Residents said that the grade going down Hawthorne is very steep and that it’s easy to lose track of your speed.

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“You don’t know how fast you can descend. I’ve been ticketed not even accelerating, just using the momentum of the hill, and I was speeding,” said a 54-year resident of Rancho Palos Verdes who requested not to be named.

“If you’re not familiar with this area, it’s just really easy to go fast. I usually [avoid the Hawthorne Boulevard and Blackhorse Road intersection] because people will run the light, and I could get nailed making my left turn up here.”

Woods was in Los Angeles as the host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, a golf tournament that concluded Sunday. According to various reports, Woods was on the golf course for a Golf Digest photo shoot on Monday, and both retired NBA star Dwyane Wade and comedian David Spade tweeted that they were playing with him that day. Golf Digest confirmed that Woods was on his way back to the country club for an additional photo and video shoot when the crash occurred.

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The PGA star had to be extricated through the windshield of the Genesis GV80 SUV he was driving, officials from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

He was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by ambulance. His injuries included a shattered ankle and two leg fractures, one of them compound, according to a source familiar with his treatment.

Times staff writers Richard Winton and Sam Farmer contributed to this report.


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