Authorities execute warrant for 'black box' data in Tiger Woods crash

KABC logo
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
LASD executes warrant for 'black box' data in Tiger Woods crash
EMBED <>More Videos

A search warrant has been executed by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department to obtain data from the "black box'' in the SUV that Tiger Woods was driving when he crashed in Rancho Palos Verdes.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A search warrant has been executed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to obtain data from the "black box'' in the SUV that golf star Tiger Woods was driving when he crashed in Rancho Palos Verdes, authorities announced Wednesday.

The department said traffic investigators executed a search warrant Monday to retrieve the data from the device in the Genesis GV80.

There was no information regarding what was found in the black box, authorities said.

"We're trying to determine if a crime was committed,'' Deputy John Schloegl said. "If somebody is involved in a traffic collision, we've got to reconstruct the traffic collision, if there was any reckless driving, if somebody was on their cell phone or something like that. We determine if there was a crime. If there was no crime, we close out the case, and it was a regular traffic collision.''

RELATED: Tiger Woods likely won't face charges after Sheriff Villanueva calls car crash 'purely an accident'

The 2021 GV80, made by the Hyundai luxury brand, is likely to have a newer version of event data recorders nicknamed "black boxes" after more sophisticated recorders in airplanes. They store a treasure trove of data for authorities to review.

A warrant was not sought to get a blood sample from Woods to determine if he was under the influence of medication at the time of the Feb. 23

crash because there was "no probable cause,'' said Schloegl, who added that Woods has been cooperating with the investigation.

Deputy Carlos Gonzalez was the first to arrive at the scene of the crash and said Woods was "calm and lucid'' while trapped in the wreckage.

"Mr. Woods was seated in the driver's seat. I made contact with him and I ensured that he was able to speak to me. At that time he seemed as though he was still calm and lucid. ... I kept Mr. Woods calm until L.A. County fire arrived at the scene,'' Gonzalez said at a news conference held about eight hours after the crash.

Gonzalez said he asked the driver, who was wearing a seat belt, for his name.

"He told me his name was Tiger, and at that moment I immediately recognized him,'' Gonzalez said. "I asked him if he knew where he was and what time of day just to make sure he was oriented. He seemed as though he was lucid and calm.

"It's a traumatic experience. So it's not uncommon for people to be focused on unimportant things, or even if they are in pain they might not feel it until much later.''

At the same news conference, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said there were no indications that would suggest a reckless driving charge.

"This is purely an accident,'' he said. "There'll be a cause of it, and there will be a vehicle code attached to the cause -- if it's inattentive driving, whatever the case may be. But that's an infraction, and reckless driving is actually more than an infraction. That's a misdemeanor crime that has a lot of elements attached to it, and there's nothing like that.''

RELATED: Stretch of road where Tiger Woods crashed is known for accidents, high speeds

Villanueva said the 45-year-old golfer's 2021 Hyundai Genesis SUV struck the center median -- actually hitting a Welcome To Rolling Hills Estates'' sign -- and careened across the southbound lanes, sheering off a tree and rolling over, coming to rest on its side along an embankment about 30 yards off the western edge of the road.

Rescue crews used the Jaws of Life, a pry bar and an axe to extricate Woods from the vehicle.

The 15-time major golf champion was heading to Rolling Hills Country Club for a video shoot with Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees when the crash occurred.

Woods sustained injuries to his right leg and ankle and underwent surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance before being transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Feb. 25.

RELATED: Tiger Woods crash: LA County firefighters rely on ax, luck to free golfer from SUV

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.