Tiger Woods Car Accident - Ongoing News and Commentary

uncannymanny

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 12, 2007
8,142
I was today years old when I learned cars had black boxes.

And why don't they make the entire car about of the black box material, amirite?
Basically the heart of the onboard computer. Diagnostics on it can tell pretty much anything that happened in the car since everything is microchip-controlled now. They usually won’t touch it unless someone is injured, but in those instances it will tell them in detail what you were doing.
 

Leather

given himself a skunk spot
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
27,063
State privacy laws are typically pretty cut-and-dried about what government info becomes public and when. "When" is usually upon the close of an investigation. As the law professor says, it's unclear what the strategy is here; what if Woods says "no"?

If there was a legitimate question regarding the classification status of the info, they could ask the relevant state agency or AG's office (or district court, if they have oversight in CA) to issue an order or opinion on the classification of the information, and follow that. But I've never heard of just letting the subject of an investigation decide what becomes public in this way. It really seems like a half-assed way to avoid the possibility of Woods suing them for legally releasing something that's embarrassing, because if they had a good-faith belief the info *is* legally private, they'd just say that and not release it. From the government's perspective, it's always the most simple course of action in terms of answering questions and administrative burden.
 
Last edited:

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
20,019
That announcement reads like an invitation for some news organization to sue for release of the records.
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
10,253
Feels like they are basically saying to Woods and his team... "we know what happened, we'll give you a chance to put out a statement on your own"

Doesn't sound like a statement claiming it was purely an accident is going to cut it.

I'm sure one way or another, we will find out.
 

Average Reds

Dope
Staff member
Dope
V&N Mod
SoSH Member
Sep 24, 2007
31,403
Southwestern CT
https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/detectives-find-tiger-woods-crash-reveal-76796020

Someone smarter than me explain this. They now have a cause but won't release due to privacy concerns? Doesn't sound like "purely an accident".

Drugs? Suicide attempt? Medical condition?
Reading through that article gives me the sense that there is not a whole lot there and they are just being extra cautious given who the driver was.

More directly - since they have no evidence of impairment (they didn’t even request blood samples) and they’re leaning on the black box as providing that cause, it’s going to be something dry like “a high rate of speed combined with driver inattention/late reaction to the oncoming curve.”

At least that’s the feeling I got from that article.
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
10,253
Reading through that article gives me the sense that there is not a whole lot there and they are just being extra cautious given who the driver was.

More directly - since they have no evidence of impairment (they didn’t even request blood samples) and they’re leaning on the black box as providing that cause, it’s going to be something dry like “a high rate of speed combined with driver inattention/late reaction to the oncoming curve.”

At least that’s the feeling I got from that article.
That's not the sense I got, though I certainly could be wrong. If it was as simple as Tiger was driving too fast and lost control, why is that a privacy issue they can't communicate?

Also, if it was a speeding/reckless driving issue, would he be charged with something as a single car accident with only damage to his own car and himself?
 

bsj

Renegade Crazed Genius
SoSH Member
Dec 6, 2003
20,708
Central NJ SoSH Chapter
quite possible it’s underlying medical. Panic attack infused blackout or something (think Tony soprano)...that becomes a HIPAA touchy type
Thing

or I could just be spitballing
 

PseuFighter

Silent scenester
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2003
13,966
11211
got a push notification from the new york times just now that he was driving 40 mph over the speed limit
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
10,253
What was the privacy issue? Strange.

Kind of amazing they didn't check his phone/text records. Or his blood work. "No probable cause".
 

Ale Xander

Lacks black ink
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
37,068
They're not gonna put him in county jail for 5-90 days as the law allows, right?
 

kfoss99

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2009
435
Sounds like he hit the accelerator instead of the break. He didn't break and the accelerator was at 99%. Hit the tree going 75mph. Very lucky to be alive.
Deleted post. Consumer Reports refutes Malcom Gladwell's claim of accidently hitting gas instead of break during fatal Toyota crash.
 

cgori

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 2, 2004
2,823
SF, CA
And I don’t buy that he mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brake.
Why? If the datalogger shows no brake application, then what is the other explanation? NHTSA claimed 16k accidents per year with this kind of mistake.

And remember this was a loaner/courtesy vehicle, not his normal car, so its behavior at speed might be unfamiliar to him, or he'd be more likely to make that kind of mistake (to my way of thinking).
 

Deathofthebambino

Drive Carefully
SoSH Member
Apr 12, 2005
34,255
Why? If the datalogger shows no brake application, then what is the other explanation? NHTSA claimed 16k accidents per year with this kind of mistake.

And remember this was a loaner/courtesy vehicle, not his normal car, so its behavior at speed might be unfamiliar to him, or he'd be more likely to make that kind of mistake (to my way of thinking).
I haven't read the report yet, but was it shown that he actually hit the gas, or he picked up speed going downhill due to gravity (which was something I read in one of the articles today).

I'd say the more likely explanation was that he fell asleep, which is why he crossed over multiple lanes, across a median, across the street and then hit a tree and rolled over without ever braking. He also doesn't remember anything.
 

Bowhemian

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2015
3,356
Bow, NH
Why? If the datalogger shows no brake application, then what is the other explanation? NHTSA claimed 16k accidents per year with this kind of mistake.

And remember this was a loaner/courtesy vehicle, not his normal car, so its behavior at speed might be unfamiliar to him, or he'd be more likely to make that kind of mistake (to my way of thinking).
Behavior at speed could definitely be different. But all cars have gas pedal/brake pedal in the same position, and have for decades. I could see that panicking might exacerbate things though.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
20,019
Why? If the datalogger shows no brake application, then what is the other explanation? NHTSA claimed 16k accidents per year with this kind of mistake.

And remember this was a loaner/courtesy vehicle, not his normal car, so its behavior at speed might be unfamiliar to him, or he'd be more likely to make that kind of mistake (to my way of thinking).
The other explanation is that he lost control at high speed because he was driving too fast.
That aside, it seems a bit less plausible that a pedal mistake would be involved over a long hill like that, as opposed to a parking lot or driveway. It could be that he was already going too fast, had an "oh shit" moment that caused the wrong pedal. I dont see anything as to *when* he hit the accelerator to 99%.
 

barbed wire Bob

crippled by fear
SoSH Member
Why? If the datalogger shows no brake application, then what is the other explanation? NHTSA claimed 16k accidents per year with this kind of mistake.

And remember this was a loaner/courtesy vehicle, not his normal car, so its behavior at speed might be unfamiliar to him, or he'd be more likely to make that kind of mistake (to my way of thinking).
It does happen but according to the NHTSA miss application is strongly correlated to the age of the driver and pedal spacing. Iirc, it tends to be a more common occurrence in vehicles with manual transmissions and sports cars and obviously with old people. The Genesis is a luxury sedan and, looking at the photos of the interior. It looks like the pedals are spaced out.
40070
That being said, that is about the only conclusion LAPD could come up with without calling into questions Woods mental state at the time of the crash.

Edit: Once I did hit the gas instead of the brake while driving. It was in my cousin’s Porsche and it was equipped with a manual transmission. In the Porsche, the pedals are relatively close to each other to allow you to utilize heel-and-toe braking which is where you use the left foot to engage the clutch and the right foot to simultaneously work both the gas and brake. If you can master it, it‘s sorta fun to do in a curve. I thought Tiger had a thing for Porsches so, if true, then he should be familiar with closely spaced pedals and their dangers.
 
Last edited:

FL4WL3SS

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
12,332
Andy Brickley's potty mouth
I've definitely hit the gas and the break at the same time in my wife's Explorer. The pedals are a terrible design and very close together and the neck of the pedal is angled towards the gas pedal.
 

Marciano490

Urological Expert
SoSH Member
Nov 4, 2007
48,614
Isn’t Tiger probably the most coordinated man on earth? He’s not going to accidentally hit the wrong pedal.
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
10,253
If he drove straight ahead 80+ miles an hour through a curve you have to assume he either was distracted, asleep, hit the accelerator by mistake, under the influence, or doing it on purpose (or some combination).

The fact that they never checked his phone/text records or his blood is very weird. "No probable cause". That's some superstar treatment.

Anyway, glad he is OK. Who knows if we will ever get the full story but all things considered he had a very good outcome and lucky no one else was hurt or killed.
 

cgori

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 2, 2004
2,823
SF, CA
Edit: Once I did hit the gas instead of the brake while driving. It was in my cousin’s Porsche and it was equipped with a manual transmission. In the Porsche, the pedals are relatively close to each other to allow you to utilize heel-and-toe braking which is where you use the left foot to engage the clutch and the right foot to simultaneously work both the gas and brake. If you can master it, it‘s sorta fun to do in a curve. I thought Tiger had a thing for Porsches so, if true, then he should be familiar with closely spaced pedals and their dangers.
I drove enough on a race track to get qualified to do a bit of instructing for novice students, I know how to heel-and-toe :) - I've also seen where people panic and hit the gas instead of the brake, even thinking that they are hitting the brake.

The statement from the police was
"There is zero braking on that data recorder," but "there is 99% acceleration on the pedal," Powers said.
which is less of a "fall asleep at the wheel" kind of thing - I realize that you (bwB) didn't claim that, but others upthread have thought it could be that.

I can sort of see the argument that since the report isn't saying when the 99% acceleration event happened maybe it could have been before he lost control, but from what I saw of the crash scene, you're not likely to be be 99% gas going down that hill, so it seems more like driver error / mistaken pedal situation to me. EDIT: or it's distracted driving and the fact that they don't have his phone records seems baffling to me.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
20,019
I can sort of see the argument that since the report isn't saying when the 99% acceleration event happened maybe it could have been before he lost control, but from what I saw of the crash scene, you're not likely to be be 99% gas going down that hill, so it seems more like driver error / mistaken pedal situation to me. EDIT: or it's distracted driving and the fact that they don't have his phone records seems baffling to me.
I can definitely believe he unintentionally mashed the gas, but unless a pedestrian or a wildebeast was crossing the road, mashing the brake is usually a sign that something has already gone wrong. Nobody but him was hurt, and if the cops want to give him the superstar treatment, that'll only hurt them somehow someway sometime. Twas ever thus.
 

EvilEmpire

paying for his sins
Staff member
Dope
Gold Supporter
Apr 9, 2007
12,610
Washington
He could have been dozing off and had an "oh shit" moment when he woke up and had that bit of adrenaline surge, and then stomped on the gas instead of the brakes because he was a little groggy. Or impaired. If he didn't brake at all and instead just accelerated, that seems most likely to me.
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
SoSH Member
Feb 22, 2004
11,125
The Paris of the 80s
Isn’t Tiger probably the most coordinated man on earth? He’s not going to accidentally hit the wrong pedal.
He has a history of accidents. This, wrecking his SUV back in 2008 (I realize there was a lot going on there), and nearly wrecking a Carrera GT when he spun it (it was described as too much car for him). He may like speed too much and may not be a particularly good driver. He should probably invest in a driver or take racing lessons. Or both.

I'm leaning toward fell asleep though.
 

VTSox

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 27, 2006
249
If he drove straight ahead 80+ miles an hour through a curve you have to assume he either was distracted, asleep, hit the accelerator by mistake, under the influence, or doing it on purpose (or some combination).

The fact that they never checked his phone/text records or his blood is very weird. "No probable cause". That's some superstar treatment.

Anyway, glad he is OK. Who knows if we will ever get the full story but all things considered he had a very good outcome and lucky no one else was hurt or killed.
Checking phone records seems like it'd make sense, but depending on what they did to him at the ER and how long he was worked on, not drawing blood could be understandable.
 

barbed wire Bob

crippled by fear
SoSH Member
I drove enough on a race track to get qualified to do a bit of instructing for novice students, I know how to heel-and-toe :) - I've also seen where people panic and hit the gas instead of the brake, even thinking that they are hitting the brake.

The statement from the police was

which is less of a "fall asleep at the wheel" kind of thing - I realize that you (bwB) didn't claim that, but others upthread have thought it could be that.

I can sort of see the argument that since the report isn't saying when the 99% acceleration event happened maybe it could have been before he lost control, but from what I saw of the crash scene, you're not likely to be be 99% gas going down that hill, so it seems more like driver error / mistaken pedal situation to me. EDIT: or it's distracted driving and the fact that they don't have his phone records seems baffling to me.
I find that extremely baffling too.
Detectives also did not seek search warrants for the athlete’s blood samples, which could have been screened for drugs or alcohol, or his cellphone. Sheriff’s officials said Woods told deputies that he had not ingested medication or alcohol before the crash. Authorities said because there was no evidence of impairment or of distracted driving, they didn’t have probable cause to get those warrants.

Regarding the bolded, the fact that he drove straight through a curve would suggest to me possible impairment or distracted driving, especially since this accident occurred in broad daylight in sunny LA. So if I were an investigator I would at least want to see a toxicology report and cell records before coming to any conclusions. Then there is this:
Last week, the Sheriff’s Department indicated it would not be sharing details of the investigation out of unspecific concerns for Woods’ privacy. The department incorrectly interpreted and cited a section of state law to explain its decision, which came under scrutiny.
The impression I’m getting is that the LA County Sheriff Department is being very charitable to him and that also makes me question the official explanation.
 

mauf

Anderson Cooper × Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
I can definitely believe he unintentionally mashed the gas, but unless a pedestrian or a wildebeast was crossing the road, mashing the brake is usually a sign that something has already gone wrong. Nobody but him was hurt, and if the cops want to give him the superstar treatment, that'll only hurt them somehow someway sometime. Twas ever thus.
I’m not sure it’s “superstar treatment.” If I wrecked a $70,000 vehicle and seriously injured myself in an accident that didn’t involve anyone else, and the first responders didn’t suspect intoxication, I think I’d receive similar deference.
 

cgori

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 2, 2004
2,823
SF, CA
Isn’t Tiger probably the most coordinated man on earth? He’s not going to accidentally hit the wrong pedal.
This actually isn't a coordination thing (normally), it's a panic/mental thing. Having seen it happen, people are 100% convinced they are braking and they are mashing the gas.

There are some sports cars where the pedals are actually really close (for heel-toe as bwB said), and then it can be a coordination thing - but this isn't that situation.
 

jcaz

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Jun 8, 2009
236
For the docs here, wouldn’t the hospital have done some pre surgery blood work as part of the anesthesia planning / assessing fitness for surgery? I can’t imagine that there was *no* blood work done pre-op.
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
10,253
I’m sure they drew blood at some point at the hospital, but that doesn’t mean they tested it for alcohol, opiates, other drugs etc.

Plus he probably got opiates for pain management pretty quickly so that also could complicate things.
 

barbed wire Bob

crippled by fear
SoSH Member
I’m sure they drew blood at some point at the hospital, but that doesn’t mean they tested it for alcohol, opiates, other drugs etc.

Plus he probably got opiates for pain management pretty quickly so that also could complicate things.
I never thought of that and that’s a good point. Considering his injuries I wouldn’t be surprised if the paramedics gave him morphine the minute they got there, so the cops probably figured it wasn’t worth it . After thinking about it, his cell could have been stowed or in a jacket pocket or something so same logic.
 

Bongorific

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
6,729
Balboa Towers
I’m not sure it’s “superstar treatment.” If I wrecked a $70,000 vehicle and seriously injured myself in an accident that didn’t involve anyone else, and the first responders didn’t suspect intoxication, I think I’d receive similar deference.
Yeah it doesn’t seem all that surprising to me that they didn’t get a judicial subpoena for his phone records. Could they have? Sure. But it was a single car accident where thankfully no one else was hurt. There’s no civil or serious criminal charge here (if they thought he wasn’t impaired by drugs or alcohol, or thought they couldn’t prove it). I don’t see this is an abnormal, celebrity treatment investigation.
 

radsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 9, 2009
10,253
Yeah it doesn’t seem all that surprising to me that they didn’t get a judicial subpoena for his phone records. Could they have? Sure. But it was a single car accident where thankfully no one else was hurt. There’s no civil or serious criminal charge here (if they thought he wasn’t impaired by drugs or alcohol, or thought they couldn’t prove it). I don’t see this is an abnormal, celebrity treatment investigation.
I admit I have no idea what typically happens, perhaps it's entirely normal to not work these things up with blood work, phone records, etc. Do the cops not usually try to figure out what happened in all major accidents? I honestly don't know.

The guy drove 85 mph (45 mph zone) in a straight line through a curve, across oncoming traffic, and into a tree without trying to brake. At first glance to me it seems bizarre no one tried to figure out what happened, but maybe it's not.

If it turned out he was texting at the time of the crash or had some combo of drugs in his system (he recently had back surgery) but wasn't acting intoxicated, what happens then? Maybe they just don't care to know and didn't think it mattered.
 

Lose Remerswaal

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
.

If it turned out he was texting at the time of the crash or had some combo of drugs in his system (he recently had back surgery) but wasn't acting intoxicated, what happens then? Maybe they just don't care to know and didn't think it mattered.
What's the penalty for texting while driving? I'm guessing it isn't worth a subpoena.
 

Average Reds

Dope
Staff member
Dope
V&N Mod
SoSH Member
Sep 24, 2007
31,403
Southwestern CT
This actually isn't a coordination thing (normally), it's a panic/mental thing. Having seen it happen, people are 100% convinced they are braking and they are mashing the gas.

There are some sports cars where the pedals are actually really close (for heel-toe as bwB said), and then it can be a coordination thing - but this isn't that situation.
My wild-ass guess is that he was probably looking at his phone and/or texting. At some point, he realized that he was outside of his lane, went to hit the brake and in his panic stomped on the gas instead.

Regardless of the underlying cause, Tiger is incredibly lucky to be alive.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
20,019
Yeah it doesn’t seem all that surprising to me that they didn’t get a judicial subpoena for his phone records. Could they have? Sure. But it was a single car accident where thankfully no one else was hurt. There’s no civil or serious criminal charge here (if they thought he wasn’t impaired by drugs or alcohol, or thought they couldn’t prove it). I don’t see this is an abnormal, celebrity treatment investigation.
What are the penalties for 45 over the speed limit on a 40-limit road in CA?
In NH, 100 on a 55 gets into crime territory.
 

Bongorific

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
6,729
Balboa Towers
I admit I have no idea what typically happens, perhaps it's entirely normal to not work these things up with blood work, phone records, etc. Do the cops not usually try to figure out what happened in all major accidents? I honestly don't know.

The guy drove 85 mph (45 mph zone) in a straight line through a curve, across oncoming traffic, and into a tree without trying to brake. At first glance to me it seems bizarre no one tried to figure out what happened, but maybe it's not.

If it turned out he was texting at the time of the crash or had some combo of drugs in his system (he recently had back surgery) but wasn't acting intoxicated, what happens then? Maybe they just don't care to know and didn't think it mattered.
I’m assuming this was a state owned road with state police jurisdiction. They have more resources than local cops and may do a more robust investigation if there’s suspicion that the driver was drug/alcohol impaired and there’s the possibility of a really serious criminal charge.

I don’t know the laws out there, but texting is probably a traffic violation. For a single car accident, it wouldn’t be very common for them to go through the effort to get a subpoena for phone records.
 

Bongorific

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
6,729
Balboa Towers
What are the penalties for 45 over the speed limit on a 40-limit road in CA?
In NH, 100 on a 55 gets into crime territory.
Yes that’s a good point. And there’s probably an aggravation charge of texting while speeding.

The police have have a lot of discretion on what they want to do to investigate. I side with Mauf, though, that for a single car crash within injuries to the driver only, I’m not surprised that they didn’t get phone records. I’ve looked at hundreds and hundreds of car crashes, many with very serious injuries or death to another motorist, and I can count on one hand the number of times the police got the phone records. YMMV
 

Light-Tower-Power

ask me about My Pillow
SoSH Member
Jun 14, 2013
11,877
Nashua, NH
Yeah, single car crash, no one else involved, and serious possibly career ending injuries. It would seem like adding insult to injury to go through with a investigation just so they could write the guy a distracted driving ticket. Obviously a different story if someone else got hurt.
 

uncannymanny

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 12, 2007
8,142
The analysis of the computer is something that is not usually done unless there’s an injury AFAIK. I begged to have the police do this for an accident (2 party, no injuries).