There’s been lots of discussion about Tiger Woods’ DUI arrest, with many defending the golf legend by saying it was ONLY prescription medication, not illegal drugs, and he’d realized he was sleepy because of those meds so he merely pulled off the roadway to rest. He was being a responsible driver, many say. Others have expressed a desire to see him behind bars, wanting no special treatment for a celebrity.
One of the medications Woods consumed was Vicodin, one of the most highly abused prescription drugs available. Woods has been taking pain meds for quite a while, so he’s definitely familiar with their effects.
Driving while under the influence of prescribed prescription medication is equally as dangerous and deadly as a drug abuser driving while under the influence of the same but illegally obtained medication.
Woods did not pull his car entirely off the road, as some suggested. Instead, it was sort of half in the roadway and half on the shoulder. The headlights were on and the car was running. Woods was behind the wheel, either asleep or passed out. He was in control of the vehicle and he was definitely under the influence of something. A classic DUI stop.
Sure, this is an unfortunate situation for Woods. However, it’s a situation that could have been far more unfortunate if the extremely intoxicated/impaired man seen in the officer’s dash cam video (Tiger Woods) had hit another car head-on, killing the occupants.
As someone who’s seen many, many people’s lives ruined by abuse of and addiction to prescription drugs, prescribed or not, I’d say Mr. Woods exhibits the signs of someone who is likely dependent on pain medication.
This (my opinion, which I rarely offer but feel so strongly about this topic that I am doing so this time) is another example where I feel that jail is not the solution to the problem. Woods, like the thousands of others who abuse pain medications, needs help, and he needs it right away. Otherwise, well, there’s Prince, Michael Jackson, Winehouse, Elvis, Jimi, Janis, and those whose names aren’t familiar to us. But they’re just as … well, you know.
The above video clearly shows that Woods was under the influence. The questions defense attorneys will use to try and clear their client of wrongdoing will likely focus on the officers, trying to poke holes in the state’s case. One potential hole is that the officer directing the field sobriety test allowed Woods to remove his shoes prior to performing the heel-to-toe walk on the white line. Why could this be a problem?
Well, I don’t know about you, but plenty of people would have a hard time walking on pavement without shoes, even when totally sober. Stepping on rocks could cause a person, Woods included, to appear to stagger when lifting feet away from the pain-inducing pebbles. Yes, I’ve heard this defense before when stopping a shoeless drunk driver. This, among other goofy defenses, is the reason I stopped having drivers perform any of these tests (walking, turning, holding a foot off the ground, etc.).
Also, the officer’s instructions weren’t very clear. I had trouble following them and I knew where he was headed.
However, in spite of these possible but small troubles, I see this as a slam dunk for the prosecution. I also see rehab in Woods’ future as part of a plea deal to avoid a serious consequences. I hope he gets the help he so desperately needs before something more serious happens to him or someone else.
By the way, in addition to the above noted field sobriety test the officer asked Woods to perform, he was also given the Romberg Alphabet instruction—recite the entire English Alphabet from A-Z. Prior to beginning this task Woods was asked to repeat the officer’s instructions to be certain he understood the task he was asked to perform, a common and necessary instruction. His reply was, “… not to sing the national anthem backwards.” Woods was then again asked to recite the alphabet but he began to walk off and seemed as if he was lost. He finally recited the alphabet, correctly.
Woods was given the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, which he did not successfully complete.
You can view the entire arrest video here.