Carlos Gonzalez, a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, told NBC News’ “Today” show that the legendary golfer was able to identify himself immediately after the wreck but wasn’t “aware” of the severity of his injuries.
“Mr. Woods seemed calm,” Gonzalez recalled. “I don’t think he was aware of how gravely he was injured at the time. It could be a mixture of adrenaline. It could have been shock… I don’t know if he had time to fully assess his injuries.”
He continued: “I ask him, ‘Can you tell me your first name?’ He looked at me and said, ‘Tiger.’ It took me a half-second, but I saw his face and I thought, ‘Oh, yeah, you’re Tiger Woods.’”
Gonzalez noted that Woods did not seem like he was in distress so he waited for the fire department to come and safely remove him from the wreck.
Woods, 45, suffered “multiple leg injuries” after being involved in a “single vehicle roll-over” collision on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes at around 7:12 a.m. local time.
His team released a statement early Wednesday morning that detailed the extent of those injuries.
“Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia,” Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer and interim CEO of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, was quoted as saying. “Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins.”
While law enforcement did not rule out speed as a contributing factor, Gonzalez said the road where the crash took place is a “hotspot” for wrecks.
“That specific stretch of roadway is one of our trouble spots,” he said during a press conference on Tuesday. “Our locals in Ranchos Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates know that it’s a hotspot for traffic collisions as well as speed. In my experience as a deputy … I have seen many collisions. The nature of his vehicle, the fact that he was wearing a seatbelt, I would say that it greatly increased the likelihood that it saved his life.”
Gonzalez continued: “I’ve seen fatal traffic collisions so I will say that it is very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive.”