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Tiger Woods is lucky to be alive, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says

A tow truck recovered the vehicle driven by Tiger Woods in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. after a rollover accident.
A tow truck recovered the vehicle driven by Tiger Woods in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. after a rollover accident.FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Tiger Woods, who is having surgery after he sustained serious leg injuries in a horrific one-car accident in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., Tuesday morning, is lucky to be alive, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a news conference Tuesday night.

Woods was in serious but stable condition at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, authorities said.

Woods was wearing a seatbelt, which probably saved his life, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. He was not able to stand under his own power, said LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who arrived at the scene first.

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“Mr. Woods was not able to stand under his own power,” Gonzalez said, noting that Woods was put on a backboard.

Woods was not impaired and no signs of alcohol or drugs were evident at the scene at the time, according to law officials, who said Woods was conscious after he was extricated from the vehicle. An ax was used to pry Woods from the SUV. The front end of the vehicle was totally destroyed, police said. Woods was driving a Genesis GV80 SUV, a complimentary vehicle from last week’s tournament, the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, of which he was the host. The car’s safety features were cited as another reason Woods did not perish in the crash.

Woods was traveling at a “relatively greater speed than normal” going down a hill in an area that has a “high frequency of accidents,” Villanueva said. There were no signs of skid marks on the road.

Woods was on his way to a video shoot at a country club outside of Los Angeles.


Jim Hoban can be reached at james.hoban@globe.com.