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Authorities find cause of Tiger Woods crash, but won't reveal it due to 'privacy issues'

The privacy issues delaying the release of the investigation into the Feb. 23 crash involve medical issues protected by law, an official told NBC News.
/ Source: TODAY

An investigation has determined what caused Tiger Woods to crash his SUV outside Los Angeles in February, but authorities are not revealing it yet due to privacy concerns involving the golf superstar.

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference Wednesday that the department is holding off on releasing the cause of the Feb. 23 crash until getting approval from Woods regarding unspecified privacy issues.

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"We have reached out to Tiger Woods and his personnel," he said. "There's some privacy issues on releasing information on the investigation, so we are going to ask them if they waive the privacy."

Among those privacy issues are medical issues protected by law, Miguel Almaguer reported on TODAY Thursday, citing a sheriff's official. Law enforcement always safeguards medical information and celebrity status doesn't play a role in the decision, a Los Angeles Police Department official told NBC News.

The report of the investigation could be released as early as next week, a sheriff's official told Almaguer. Woods, who is recovering at his home in Florida, has not responded to requests for comment by NBC News.

Officials issued a search warrant last month to get data from the SUV's black box containing the speed it was traveling at the time of the crash and the actions behind the wheel by Woods up to five seconds before the accident.

Woods broke his right leg in several places after his SUV struck a median and traveled 400 feet onto an embankment, hit a tree and rolled over multiple times. Surgeons had to insert a rod into the tibia in his right leg as well as screws and pins into his foot and ankle. The injuries have raised the question of whether Woods will be able to continue his storied golf career.

Villanueva labeled the crash "purely an accident" in the immediate aftermath, saying at a news conference that "there was no evidence of impairment, there was no effort to draw blood, for example, at the hospital." Woods was not charged in the crash.

Image: FILE PHOTO: The vehicle of golfer Tiger Woods is recovered in Los Angeles
Detectives for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department have determined the cause of Tiger Woods' serious one-car crash on Feb. 23 but are not releasing it yet due to privacy concerns involving Woods. Gene Blevins / Reuters

The decision not to draw blood was criticized considering Woods pleaded guilty to reckless driving in 2017 after being arrested in Jupiter, Florida, on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Villanueva defended the decision not to test Woods for drugs or alcohol on Wednesday.

"It still remains an accident," he said. "You have an accident, and you have deliberate acts. It's an accident, OK? Everything we did turned out to be accurate."