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Tiger Woods may have fallen asleep at wheel, experts suggest

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Tiger Woods appeared to not be paying attention in the moments before his devastating crash – and may have fallen asleep at the wheel of the luxury SUV he was driving, according to a report citing forensic car accident experts.

The 45-year-old links legend was driving a 2021 Genesis GV80 alone when he veered across the median on Hawthorne Boulevard in Rancho Palos Verdes, went off the road and struck a tree — causing the car to roll over.

Woods broke several bones in his lower right leg, which indicates he was applying the brake at the time of impact, experts told USA Today, adding that the evidence indicates he braked late into the collision sequence.

“To me, this is like a classic case of falling asleep behind the wheel, because the road curves and his vehicle goes straight,” Jonathan Cherney, a consultant who serves as an expert witness in court cases, told the news outlet.

The former police detective examined the crash site in person.

Tiger Woods broke several bones in his lower right leg in his car accident on Feb. 23, 2021.
Tiger Woods broke several bones in his lower right leg in his car accident on Feb. 23, 2021.
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“It’s a drift off the road, almost like he was either unconscious, suffering from a medical episode or fell asleep and didn’t wake up until he was off the road and that’s where the brake application came in,” Cherney told USA Today.

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said there were no skid marks to indicate braking — but the vehicle had anti-lock brakes, so even if Woods slammed on the brakes, “you wouldn’t necessarily see tire marks,” Felix Lee, an accident reconstruction expert, told the outlet.

Lee said a key clue is how the SUV did not change direction entering the curve.

“My feeling is that speed wasn’t that much of an issue. It was just some kind of inattention that caused the curb strike,” said Lee, who is part of the Expert Institute, a network that provides expert witnesses in court cases.

Workers move a vehicle after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.
Workers move a vehicle after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

Cherney also said he didn’t see evidence of “any steering input” that would show the golfer tried to avoid the accident.

Rami Hashish, principal at the National Biomechanics Institute, which investigate accidents told USA Today that this suggests a “very delayed response.”

“It was suggesting he wasn’t paying attention at all,” said the expert, adding that he suspects the damage would have been much greater if Woods had been traveling at an excessive speed.

The speed limit on that stretch is 45 mph.

“You can walk away with a broken leg from 45 to 50 mph,” Hashish said. “If you’re hitting 60, 65 and you’re hitting a stationary object, your likelihood of death increases exponentially.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies gather evidence from the car that Tiger Woods was driving at the time of the accident on Feb. 23, 2021.
Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies gather evidence from the car that Tiger Woods was driving at the time of the accident on Feb. 23, 2021.
David McNew/Getty Images

If he was speeding at 80 mph, “he wouldn’t be having an open fracture in this leg — he’d be dead,” he said.

The sheriff has said investigators didn’t know the vehicle’s speed yet but said it could have been a factor, as well as inattentiveness.

“This stretch of road is challenging, and if you’re not paying attention, you can see what happens,” Villanueva said Wednesday, adding that the crash was “purely an accident” in a preliminary assessment.

There was no evidence of impairment or medication involved, he added.

However, the experts were surprised that Villanueva had determined it to be an accident without yet having examined the SUV’s “black box” computer, which could reveal steering, braking or acceleration actions before impact.

“There’s no real accident unless it’s a true medical emergency,” Cherney said. “There’s always some level of negligence, whether it’s simple negligence like looking down at your phone or changing the radio station that starts the whole collision sequence.

“So when the sheriff is saying this is just an accident, I don’t know how in the world you can state that so early in the game without completing an in-depth thorough investigation and reconstruction analysis,” he added.

In 2017, police found Woods asleep at the wheel in Florida. A toxicology report said he had Vicodin, Dilaudid, Xanax, Ambien — which is used to treat sleep problems — and THC in his system at the time.

Cherney also questioned whether the SUV actually rolled over “several times,” as Villanueva has indicated.

“I consider a rollover one full revolution, not just falling onto the side,” Cherney said. “I don’t think that vehicle experienced as many revolutions or complete rolls as they are portraying.”

In his first comments after the crash, Woods said Sunday: “It is hard to explain how touching today was when I turned on the tv and saw all the red shirts,” referring to his peers wearing his signature Sunday outfit of red shirt and black pants during the final round of the WCG-Workday Championship.

“To every golfer and every fan, you are truly helping me get through this tough time.”

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Bulls’ Zach LaVine called cops on ‘obsessed’ fan at his home

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Zach LaVine had an unwanted visitor.

The Chicago Bulls star had to call the police after an “allegedly obsessed” woman showed up to his Chicago home and refused to leave on Thursday night, according to TMZ. 

The woman reportedly traveled from out of state, demanding to speak with the first-time All-Star, who was home at the time.

Police took her a local hospital for mental evaluation, and she has not been formally arrested or charged with a crime.

LaVine, 25, wrapped up first-half action with the Bulls on Wednesday and was drafted to Kevin Durant’s All-Star side for Sunday’s festivities in Atlanta.

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Blake Griffin a free agent after Pistons buyout

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Blake Griffin will be free to sign with the Nets or another interested NBA team after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons.

The six-time All-Star forward “has interest from most of the NBA’s top playoff contenders and is expected to make a decision on his next team after conversations with prospective teams,” ESPN reported.

The Nets, Lakers, Heat, Warriors and Clippers – his former team — are among those that have expressed interest, according to the New York Times. ESPN.com added that the Blazers are interested

The 31-year-old Griffin hasn’t played since Feb. 12 while the Pistons attempted to trade him before the March 25 deadline, but they found no takers due to the remainder of his $36.6 million salary for this season and the $39 million he’s owed for 2021-22.

Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
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Griffin is averaging a career-low 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 20 games this season. He was dealt by the Clippers to Detroit in 2018, during the first season of a five-year extension worth $171 million.



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Broncos send a pretty strong warning to Drew Lock

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Drew Lock is no lock to remain the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2021.

General manager George Paton and coach Vic Fangio both said Thursday that the team expects to bring in competition for Lock, possibly with the ninth pick in the NFL Draft.

“Obviously we’re always looking to bring in players at all positions that can raise the level of competition, and the quarterback is no different in that regard,” Fangio said, according to the team’s website.

“Until we get or until Drew proves to be the next great quarterback, like the ones that the Denver franchise has been used to in years past or certain teams around the league … are used to, we’re going to always try and bring in competition. But I have confidence that Drew can continue to improve.”

Lock made 13 starts in 2020 and tied with Carson Wentz for the league lead with 15 interceptions. He finished 32nd in the league among qualifying quarterbacks with a 75.4 passer rating, ahead of only Dwayne Haskins, Wentz and Sam Darnold.

Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
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“Very talented, was inconsistent at times, has a lot to work on,” Paton said Thursday. “But I’ve spoken with Drew, I see him every day. He’s here early. He’s working. He really wants to be great. And we’re always going to try to bring in competition at every position, and quarterback as well. But I like the track that Drew’s on.”

Lock, the Broncos’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Missouri, had started five games as a rookie, winning four of them. Denver went 4-9 with him as the starter last season.

“I’m confident that Drew’s going to continue to improve,” Fangio said. “Drew’s had a great offseason up to this point. There’s not a lot you can do, but he’s working hard on his own, coming over here and getting workouts, and I know he’s doing a lot at home by himself, watching video by himself. He’s got a good setup over there. And he’s doing anything and everything he can to improve, even in February and now in March.”

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