New findings in Tiger Woods' crash spur questions about 'accident' ruling by police

"Officials made critical decisions that were favorable to Woods and effectively gave him the benefit of the doubt..."
Tiger Woods

Authorities quickly declared golfer Tiger Woods' car crash an accident, but now new information is calling that ruling into question, according to a report.

"In the early stages of their investigation into why Tiger Woods crashed his car on Feb. 23, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials made critical decisions that were favorable to Woods and effectively gave him the benefit of the doubt, according to forensic experts," USA Today reported on Monday.

On the day of the crash, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced that his deputies "did not see any evidence of impairment." 

“The deputy at the scene assessed the condition of Tiger Woods and there was no evidence of any impairment whatsoever,” Villanueva said that day. “He was lucid, no odor of alcohol, no evidence of any medication, narcotics or anything like that would bring that into question. So that was not a concern at the time."

A day later, the sheriff declared that the crash was "purely an accident" and said authorities did not call in a drug-recognition expert to evaluate Woods for impairment.

"But the available evidence in the case indicates Woods was inattentive or asleep when his vehicle went straight into a median instead of staying with his lane as it curved right, multiple forensic experts told USA TODAY Sports.

Woods also told deputies twice that he didn’t remember how the crash occurred and didn’t even remember driving after surviving the crash with broken bones in his right leg," USA Today wrote.

The sheriff's department to the paper in a statement that it is "not releasing any further information at this time. The traffic collision investigation is ongoing and traffic investigators continue to work to determine the cause of the collision."

Accident reconstruction experts told the paper that the fact that Woods did not remember driving at all was reason enough to bring in a drug-recognition expert, or DRE.

"I would have thought that you would have him evaluated by a DRE to see whether or not there are some physical clues beyond the operation that would point to impairment," said Charles Schack, a former New Hampshire state police trooper who is now president of Crash Experts, which analyzes accidents.

"To an untrained person, sometimes the effects are a bit more subtle, and require a bit more in-depth examination to bring out the evidence of impairment," he told USA Today.