Golfer Tiger Woods to plead guilty to reckless driving, set to enter diversion program for DUI offenders

Woods was found asleep in May behind the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz, which was parked alongside a road not far from his home in exclusive Jupiter Island.

Reuters October 27, 2017 16:28:26 IST
Golfer Tiger Woods to plead guilty to reckless driving, set to enter diversion program for DUI offenders

Golfer Tiger Woods is scheduled to plead guilty on Friday to a reckless driving charge and enter a program for first-time offenders to avoid a conviction for driving under the influence, court officials said.

The 41-year-old athlete was found asleep in May behind the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz, which was parked alongside a road not far from his home in exclusive Jupiter Island.

Golfer Tiger Woods to plead guilty to reckless driving set to enter diversion program for DUI offenders

Tiger Woods is seen handcuffed and searched by police officers in this still image from a police dashcam video in Jupiter, Florida. Reuters

At the time, Woods told police officers he could not remember where he was going and said he was returning from Los Angeles, even though his car was headed away from his home, his arrest report showed.

A toxicology report said Woods had five drugs but no alcohol in his system when he was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence. The drugs included generic forms of painkillers Vicodin and Dilaudid; the mood drug Xanax; the sleeping pill Ambien; and a drug that contained THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Woods is expected to enter a guilty plea in a Palm Beach Gardens court to the lesser charge and be placed on probation.

He will enter a diversion program offered in Palm Beach County for first-time DUI offenders. Woods is eligible because he had no prior criminal record, cooperated with police and was not involved in a crash, said Richard Clausi, an assistant state attorney.

If he completes the program, Woods can have the reckless driving charge expunged from his record. But if he is arrested again for DUI, he will be treated as a second-time offender, Clausi told Reuters.

Woods’ attorney did not return calls seeking comment.

In a statement after his arrest, Woods apologized to fans and blamed the incident on prescription medication he was taking to manage pain from a recent back surgery.

Woods, who is second on the all-time list with 14 major titles, has not won a major championship since 2008.

The following year, he was involved in a bizarre early-morning car crash outside his home at the time near Orlando. The incident ballooned into a sex scandal involving allegations of extramarital affairs, and both his marriage and some lucrative endorsement deals ended.

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