RANCHO PALOS VERDES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles County officials Wednesday ordered a safety review of the curvy stretch of road in Rancho Palos Verdes where golfer Tiger Woods crashed and was seriously injured.
Supervisor Janice Hahn directed the county’s Department of Public Works to conduct the review of the stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard that has seen more than a dozen accidents in the past year and is considered extremely dangerous by both neighbors and authorities.
“Traffic safety across Los Angeles County is a tremendous concern for me and my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors,” Hahn said in a
statement. “The accident occurred along a stretch of roadway between two coastal communities: the cities of Rancho Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills Estates. But the issue of traffic safety is one that affects the entire L.A. County region.”
According to the CHP, from January 2010 to January 2020, there have been 22 accidents, 5 deaths and at least 6 injuries.
Residents say they’ve been warning about the roads for some time.
“Those of us who live in the area, and travel this road, we go through brakes a lot. We spend a lot of money on brakes per year because you really need to ride them as you’re going down this grade,” area resident David Olson told CBSLA Tuesday evening.
At 7:12 a.m. Tuesday, Woods was traveling north on Hawthorne Boulevard, at Blackhorse Road, when his SUV struck the center divider, crossed it and careened across all southbound lanes, hit a tree, rolled over, and came to a stop on its side in some nearby brush.
“Because it is downhill, it slopes, and it also curves, that area has a high frequency of accidents,” L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a news conference Tuesday.
Villanueva indicated that it was likely Woods had been speeding. Villanueva said there were no skid marks or other signs of braking, and the first object the vehicle struck was a sign in the center median that said “Welcome to Rolling Hills Estates.”
There was no evidence that Woods was impaired, Villanueva said. He was wearing a seat belt. He had stayed overnight at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes and may have been late to an appointment when he crashed.
Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the scene of the crash, said the speed limit in the area is 45 miles per hour, but said he has often seen drivers going 80 mph in the stretch.
“The nature of his vehicle, the fact that he was wearing a seat belt, I would say it greatly increased the likelihood that it saved his life,” Gonzalez said.
The 45-year-old Woods was extricated from the SUV by firefighters and rushed to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, where he underwent a lengthy surgery for fractures on his right leg and ankle. He is expected to survive.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)