Tiger Woods is “lucky to be alive” after a serious car accident in California, police said Tuesday.
The golfer was conscious and had serious injuries to both legs when he was found at the scene of the accident.
Authorities said the 45-year-old man was in “serious” condition but was able to reach them when they arrived at the scene in Rancho Palo Verdes, California.
His car was going down a steep and winding road when he crossed the center, crashed into the sidewalk and rolled several times into brush and a tree.
A neighbor who lives about 50 feet (15 meters) from the crash site, a notoriously dangerous stretch of road in the area, called 911 at 0712 local time. [1512 GMT].
Authorities say the airbags were deployed inside the Genesis GV80 SUV, which was loaned to Woods during the week, and that he had been wearing a seat belt.
Fire Chief Daryl Osby said firefighters used pry tools and an ax to pry Woods out of the car through the windshield.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference that officers had found “no evidence of impairment” from drugs or alcohol at the crash site. “No impairment was found at this time, but it will be the subject of investigation,” he said.
The sheriff said it “would have been a fatal accident” if the interior of the Genesis GV80 SUV had not remained intact in the accident.
“The interior of the car was intact, which gave it the cushion to survive,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva added that there were no signs of braking or skid marks on the road and that it appeared that Woods had been “going at a relatively higher speed than normal.”
“By the time it crossed the center divider, to the point where it came to rest, it was several hundred feet apart, so obviously that indicates they were going relatively faster than normal,” Villanueva said.
“Because it’s downhill, it slopes and it also curves. This area has a high frequency of accidents. It is not uncommon. “
Deputy Carlos González was the first officer on the scene and described Mr. Woods as “calm and lucid” when he spoke to him.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Woods was unable to stand on his own. Mr. Woods was sitting in the driver’s seat, I contacted them and made sure he could talk to me, ”he said.
“He seemed calm and lucid at the time. I kept him calm until the LA County Fire arrived on the scene.
“I spoke with him, I asked him what his name was and he told me his name was ‘Tigre’. And at that moment I recognized it immediately. I asked him if he knew where he was, what time of day, to make sure he was oriented.
“It seemed like he was lucid and calm. He didn’t seem concerned about his injuries at the time, which is common in car accidents when people are in shock.
“It is a traumatic experience. It’s not uncommon for people to focus on unimportant things, or even if they’re in pain, they may not feel it until much later. “
The deputy added that Woods was wearing a seatbelt that may have helped save his life.
“It is very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” said the deputy.
He was then transferred to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center because it is also a trauma center.
Woods was due to record two “teaching lessons” at the Rolling Hills Country Club with NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Justin Herbert when the accident occurred.
Authorities said there was also a second car accident caused by people slowing down to see what had happened, but no one was injured.