LA County officers survey the Tiger Woods car crash scene
LA County officers surveying the Tiger Woods car crash scene in late February. Image Credit: LAT

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles County sheriff said detectives have determined what caused Tiger Woods to crash his SUV last month in Southern California but declined on Wednesday to release details, citing unspecified privacy concerns for the golf star.

Woods suffered serious injuries in the February 23 crash when he struck a raised median around 7 am in Rolling Hills Estates, just outside Los Angeles. The Genesis SUV he was driving crossed through two oncoming lanes and uprooted a tree on a downhill stretch that police said is known for wrecks. Woods is in Florida recovering from multiple surgeries.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva has been criticized for his comments about the crash, calling it ‘‘purely an accident’’ and saying there was no evidence of impairment. Woods told deputies he did not know how the crash occurred and didn’t remember driving.

He was unconscious when a witness first approached the mangled SUV. A sheriff’s deputy said the athlete later appeared to be in shock but was conscious and able to answer basic questions.


Investigators did not seek a search warrant for Woods’ blood samples, which could be screened for drugs and alcohol. In 2017, Woods checked himself into a clinic for help in dealing with prescription drug medication after a DUI charge in his home state of Florida.

Detectives, however, did obtain a search warrant for the data recorder of the 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV, known as a black box. Villanueva would not say Wednesday what data had been recovered from the black box.

‘‘A cause has been determined, the investigation has concluded,’’ Villanueva said during a live social media event Wednesday.

Villanueva claimed investigators need permission from Woods - who previously named his yacht ‘Privacy’ - to make public information about the crash.

‘‘We have reached out to Tiger Woods and his personnel,” Villanueva said. “There’s some privacy issues on releasing information on the investigation so we’re going to ask them if they waive the privacy and then we will be able to do a full release on all the information regarding the accident.’’

Woods’ agent at Excel Sports, Mark Steinberg, did not respond to an email seeking comment on Wednesday.

‘‘We have all the contents of the black box, we’ve got everything,’’ Villanueva said. ‘‘It’s completed, signed, sealed and delivered. However, we can’t release it without the permission of the people involved in the collision.’’

Hours after the social media event, the sheriff’s department posted a message on Twitter saying that the release of such reports falls under California’s vehicle code.

‘‘When we are able, we intend to release the information learned during the traffic collision investigation’’ that involved Woods, the tweet stated.