Tiger Woods was “calm and lucid” when Los Angeles fire officials pulled him from the mangled remains of a luxury SUV on Tuesday — and is “very fortunate” to be alive following a roll-over crash, officials said.
“I’ve seen many collisions, the nature of his vehicle and the fact that he was wearing a seatbelt, I would say that it greatly increased the likelihood that it saved his life,” Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who initially responded to the scene before paramedics arrived, told reporters during an afternoon briefing.
“It was very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive…. I think this also kind of speaks to the marvel of modern automobiles and they are much safer than they’ve ever been previously.”
Gonzalez, who handles traffic accidents for the department, said when he got to the scene, Woods was buckled into the driver’s seat of his Genesis GV80 and seemingly unconcerned with his injuries.
“He seemed as though he was still calm and lucid. I spoke to him, I tried to keep him calm,” Gonzalez recounted.
“I asked him what his name was, he told me his name was Tiger and at that moment I immediately recognized him.”
The cop realized that Woods was stable and waited for paramedics and EMS officials from the Los Angeles Fire Department to respond to the scene instead of trying to extricate him himself.
Soon after, fire officials used a halligan tool and axe to rip off the SUV’s windshield and extricate the golf legend. They put him on a backboard, secured his neck and immediately transported him to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by ambulance where he underwent surgery on his two legs for “severe” injuries.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva also noted how Woods’s SUV aided in keeping him alive.
“The cabin of the vehicle was more or less intact, the front end was totally destroyed, the bumpers, everything was destroyed, airbags deployed all of that,” Villaneuva told reporters.
“However, thankfully the interior was more or less intact, which kind of gave him the cushion to survive what otherwise would’ve been a fatal crash.”
Woods underwent surgery on his two legs for “severe” injuries earlier Tuesday. Further details of his condition were not immediately known.