PGA Tour golfer Bill Haas was injured in a car crash Tuesday night near Riviera Country Club, site of this week’s Genesis Open in Pacific Palisades, Calif. Haas was the passenger in a Ferrari driven by Mark Gibello, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The crash also involved actor Luke Wilson, who was not seriously injured and was hailed as a hero for helping free one of the victims, and an unidentified woman.
Haas was released after a brief hospitalization and has withdrawn from the tournament, returning to his Greenville, S.C., home, according to a statement from the PGA Tour and Allen Hobbs, his manager.
“Last night in Pacific Palisades, Calif., Bill Haas was involved in a serious car accident in which the driver — a member of the family with whom Haas and his family were staying for the Genesis Open — was killed. While Bill escaped serious injuries and has been released from the hospital, he is understandably shaken up and — more importantly — his deepest condolences go out to the host family during this tragic and difficult time,” the statement said.
“Bill will withdraw from the Genesis Open and plans to head home to Greenville to recover. He appreciates the support of friends, family and the golf world as a whole and he has asked for privacy as he processes what happened.”
The accident, which occurred a few miles from Riviera, took place around 6:30 p.m. local time when the Ferrari clipped a Toyota SUV driven by Wilson in the 500 block of North Chautauqua Boulevard and collided with a BMW driven by a 50-year-old woman.
“I believe the cause [of the Ferrari driver’s death] was a high rate of speed and the individual lost control, colliding into several vehicles,” Officer Mike Lopez of the Los Angeles Police Department told the Palisades Post.
Sean Heirigs told People.com that he and Wilson helped free the woman, whose leg was pinned in the vehicle, because they were concerned that the Ferrari’s smoking tires might catch fire.
“It was stuck between the steering wheel and the dashboard or something,” he said. “At this time, Luke Wilson had jumped out and come up to the woman’s window. She was crying for help, she obviously didn’t know what was going on, she was very distraught.”
The two came together to find a way to get her out of the vehicle.
“At one point, [Wilson] was like, ‘Let’s get her out of here, it smells like smoke,’” Heirigs said. “You don’t know if it’s going to blow up or not. So, I reached in through a window to calm her down. Luke went around the back, to the trunk of the car. We pried it open, she was able to unbuckle herself, and Luke started to pull her out from the back. We then both carried her to the curb. …
“He was calm. He was definitely a hero, [a] super nice guy,” Heirigs said of Wilson. “When it was all done, we hugged each other.”
Haas, 35, and the woman were taken to a hospital in serious condition. Los Angeles Police Department Detective Jeff Fischer told KTLA that Haas was “doing okay.” His father, former PGA Tour pro Jay Haas, told the Golf Channel on Wednesday morning that his son has no broken bones but was experiencing pain and swelling in his leg.
“Bill was very fortunate,” Jay Haas told the Golf Channel.
Gibello, according to the Golf Channel, was a friend of Billy Harmon, Haas’s swing coach, and was “instrumental” in bringing the Walker Cup and U.S. Open to Los Angeles Country Club. He was hosting Haas and his family during the Genesis Open.
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