Why didn’t Woods receive a lot as a rushing ticket or reckless driving quotation if he was touring almost twice as quick because the permissible velocity on the twisting highway the place he misplaced management of his SUV?
Lomita Sheriff’s Capt. James Powers defined at a Wednesday information convention that there was inadequate proof to assist a quotation with out an eyewitness or police remark. While the SUV’s occasion information recorder revealed that Woods reached speeds as much as 87 miles per hour simply earlier than the crash, Powers mentioned issuing a quotation can be “a waste of time” as a result of “a lot of courts will dismiss it.”
Beverly Hills prison protection legal professional Jeffery Rubenstein corroborated Powers’ rationalization. The former Los Angeles County prosecutor informed Yahoo Sports, “It has to happen in the presence of the officer. Unless they witnessed him speeding, they’re probably not issuing a citation.”
Other consultants who spoke with Yahoo Sports agreed with Rubenstein whereas additionally citing one other potential motive that Woods may need prevented a quotation. Not solely was this a single-car accident wherein no one in addition to Woods was damage, the legendary golfer additionally was trapped within the automobile and sustained probably career-threatening leg accidents.
“Sometimes they don’t give a traffic citation out of courtesy,” mentioned Kurt Weiss, a California-based site visitors collision reconstruction specialist. “Tiger has more worries in his life than a traffic citation. Why bother? That happens a lot in these sorts of situations.”
The lack of a site visitors quotation is one in all a number of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department selections which have come below scrutiny for being favorable to Woods. Police have additionally been questioned about why they didn’t extra completely examine whether or not Woods was below the affect of remedy or different medicine on the time of the accident.
In a Feb. 23 information convention held hours after the accident, Sheriff Alex Villanueva indicated there was “no evidence of impairment” when observing Woods on the scene. Officers noticed no indicators that Woods had narcotics or ache medication in his system, based on Villanueva, nor did they scent alcohol on his breath.
When requested if police had administered a discipline sobriety check, Powers defined Wednesday that “it would not have been appropriate” given the accidents Woods had suffered. The golfer’s security was the first concern of officers on the scene of his rollover crash on a notoriously treacherous stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard close to Rancho Palos Verdes.
Police additionally did not search permission to acquire a pattern of Woods’ blood and study it for proof of remedy or medicine. Experts who spoke to Yahoo Sports agreed with Villanueva’s conclusion that with out proof of impairment, a decide was unlikely to grant a warrant for a blood pattern.
“They have to have some kind of objective symptoms to be able to legally go that route,” mentioned Daniel Mahoney, a former police officer who now runs an accident investigation consulting agency in Walnut Creek, California. “If you don’t have that, then legally you can’t decide, ‘Well at the hospital we’re going to draw blood.’ You can get the consent of the person, but typically that doesn’t happen.”
Mahoney mentioned that Woods’ historical past would not have helped the Sheriff’s Department receive a warrant with out proof of impairment. In 2017, Florida police arrested Woods on suspicion of drunken driving after they found him asleep at the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz at 3 a.m. A toxicology report later confirmed he had the sleep remedy Ambien in his system, in addition to different remedy corresponding to Vicodin.
While Woods has mentioned that he has no reminiscence of his most up-to-date crash — the accident report revealed that he later thought he was in Florida, not California — consultants recommend that’s frequent and not essentially an indication that he was once more asleep on the wheel. They additionally level to different indicators that he was aware and actively making an attempt to regain management of the SUV because it hit the median and struck a signpost and a tree earlier than coming to relaxation in a gulley by the aspect of the highway.
In Wednesday’s information convention, regulation enforcement mentioned that information recordings from Woods’ automobile present that he did not brake previous to the accident however did step on the accelerator at a “99 percent” fee. Experts discovered Powers’ idea “plausible” that Woods panicked and by accident hit the gasoline.
“There’s plenty of instances of people getting the brake and the accelerator pedal confused,” mentioned California-based accident reconstruction specialist Daniel Vomhof III. “The fact that he had steering inputs recorded by the EDR, that indicates he most likely had his hands on the wheel and he was trying to do something.”
If the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department erred anyplace, consultants say it was by labeling the crash “purely an accident” the day after it occurred. That gave the notion that police weren’t taking significantly the potential that Woods had pushed whereas impaired.
To some consultants, the conclusion that extreme velocity prompted the crash was additionally a copout. They argue that regulation enforcement ought to have subpoenaed cellular phone data to see if Woods may need been driving distracted or carried out extra to find out what else may have contributed to the lack of management of the automobile.
“My gut feeling is they went from overly protective of Tiger to not digging deep enough,” Vomhof mentioned. “Speed in and of itself does not cause a collision. Speed in conjunction with something else, yes. But speed itself does not cause a traffic collision.”
Ultimately, nevertheless, consultants who spoke to Yahoo Sports agree with Villanueva’s assertion that Woods acquired no particular treatment. If something, consultants say, his accident acquired extra police scrutiny than comparable ones often do due to the media consideration surrounding it.
“A lot of times, if the driver is not dead and nobody else is injured, the police just write a report, close it out and let the insurance company pay for all the damage,” Mahoney mentioned. “Because of who this is, I believe the law enforcement entity probably went the extra mile to do a complete investigation.”
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