The most accomplished golfer in history may have been given a mulligan by Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva in the wake of his single-vehicle crash Feb. 23.

Reports surfaced almost immediately about the potential for driver impairment, but those paths were not pursued.

Villanueva said his deputies “did not see any evidence of impairment” following the crash of Woods’ loaned Genesis GV80.

Most controversial is that Villanueva, a day after the crash, played down any need to go further, saying there was no “drug recognition expert needed to respond to do any further assessment of that. This is what it is: an accident.”

What was the rush? In a USA Today story, two primary missteps were presented:

  • Framing the crash as an “accident” right away. Hours after the crash, the sheriff and the deputy who responded to the 911 call both emphasized the downhill road as a potential cause.
  • Not bringing in a drug-recognition expert (DRE), a law enforcement officer who is trained to identify clues of impairment and determine whether the driver should have his blood examined for medications or other drugs. 

“LASD is not releasing any further information at this time,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement last Friday. “The traffic collision investigation is ongoing … .”

Accident reconstruction experts said Woods’ inability to remember driving at all was reason enough to bring in a DRE, if only to be thorough in the investigation.

But former detective Jonathan Cherney, who walked the scene told USA Today the evidence suggests it was “like a classic case of falling asleep behind the wheel” because “the road curves and his vehicle goes straight.”


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