Woods pleads guilt to reckless driving over damaged Mercedes

A casually dressed Tiger Woods arrives at the Palm Beach court. Picture: AP Photo/Alan DiazA casually dressed Tiger Woods arrives at the Palm Beach court. Picture: AP Photo/Alan Diaz
A casually dressed Tiger Woods arrives at the Palm Beach court. Picture: AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Golfing superstar Tiger Woods has pleaded guilty to reckless driving and agreed to enter a diversion programme, five months after he was found passed out in his Mercedes with prescription drugs and marijuana in his system.

Woods, 41, spoke only briefly during a hearing at a Palm Beach County courthouse yesterday, answering questions from a judge about his plea agreement.

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Prosecutors dropped his driving under the influence charge and the judge warned him to stay out of trouble.

Judge Sandra Bosso-Pardo said: “This particular plea agreement has no jail time on it. However, if you violate your probation in any significant way, I could revoke your probation and then I could sentence you to jail for 90 days with a fine of up to $500. Is that understood?”

Woods nodded. He did not make any statement during the hearing or outside the courthouse.

In the diversion programme, Woods will spend a year on probation and pay a $250 fine and court costs. He has already met some of the programme’s other requirements, completing 50 hours of community service at the Tiger Woods Foundation, prosecutor Dave Aronberg said.

Mr Aronberg did not say specifically what Woods did with the charitable group, but said he met the terms of the deal. Woods also attended a workshop where victims of impaired drivers detailed how their lives were damaged.

Woods will also be required to undergo regular drug tests since he was intoxicated with prescription drugs and marijuana.

He arrived at the courthouse wearing sunglasses and a dark suit with no tie. Police officers surrounded him as he walked down a hallway inside the courthouse.

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Woods was arrested at about 2am on 29 May when officers found him unconscious in his Mercedes, which was parked awkwardly on the roadside and had damage to the driver’s side.

Officers checked the area, but did not find that he had hit anything. He was about 15 miles from his home.

His arrest was recorded by an officer’s dashcam video and released to the public. Woods had the active ingredient for marijuana, two painkillers – Vicodin and Dilaudid – the sleep drug Ambien and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system, but no alcohol. He completed a drug treatment programme in July.

Woods has said he had been self-medicating to relieve the pain from his fourth back surgery and insomnia.

Mr Aronberg said most DUI offenders do not qualify for the diversion programme because they have a prior record or were in an accident. About 2,500 first-time offenders have graduated from the county programme since it started four years ago.