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Tiger Woods didn’t get special treatment after crash, L.A. County sheriff says amid questions

A law enforcement officer looks over a damaged vehicle following a rollover crash involving golfer Tiger Woods.
A law enforcement officer looks over a damaged vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles on Feb. 23.
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Wednesday denied that deputies gave Tiger Woods a break in their investigation of the rollover crash that left him hospitalized, but also said his agency needs more drug recognition experts.

Villanueva had quickly labeled the Feb. 23 crash as “purely an accident,” saying there was “no evidence of any impairment whatsoever” even though the golfer told authorities he does not remember the crash.

Sheriff’s investigators did not seek a warrant in the hours after the crash to run toxicology reports to see if Woods was drunk or under the influence of drugs.

“I know there’s been a lot of concern about, was he received any treatment any different than anybody else — he did not. He received the same treatment everybody else would receive,” Villanueva said Wednesday. “One, there’s no obvious evidence of impairment, and he’s compound fracture in a horrendous scene. Our concern shifts to the humanitarian, you know, life preservation, those kinds of things. And the accident becomes secondary.”

He went on to say that the Sheriff’s Department needs to hire and train more drug recognition experts.

“That’s something that obviously, lessons learned from every incident, how can we apply what we learned to future events and make ourselves more, a better organization, more effective,” he said.

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Villanueva said Woods has been released from the hospital and is en route to Florida to continue his recovery.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s traffic investigator has obtained a search warrant for the precrash data from the Genesis GV80 SUV’s onboard computer systems.

The department is seeking the information from the SUV‘s so-called black boxes to determine the cause of the crash and to reconstruct the incident to determine if the golfing legend was driving at an unsafe speed or was distracted or affected by something else inside the vehicle.


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