Atwal Told Officers He Was 35 Mph Over Speed Limit

Thursday, March 22nd 2007, 1:25 pm
By: News On 6

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) PGA Tour player Arjun Atwal estimated he was going 80 mph in a 45 mph zone just before a car speeding next to him flipped and killed its driver, documents from the Florida Highway Patrol show.

Witnesses have said Atwal and John N. Park, who died, were street racing on March 10. No criminal charges have been filed, and troopers said Thursday it would be another month before the investigation is complete.

The highway patrol still hasn't determined independently how fast Atwal and Park were going, but a preliminary report showed the golf pro estimated he was 35 mph over the limit. Witnesses said the two were going 100 mph.

Robert Kreusler, CEO of Blue Giraffe, the sports management company representing Atwal, would not comment on the estimated speed. However, Kreusler said: "Arjun categorically denies that he was involved in any kind of racing or street racing."

Both drivers were in expensive, high-performance cars capable of incredible speeds: Atwal in a 2006 BMW M6 with a 500-horsepower engine, and Park in a 2006 Mercedes CLS 55 AMG with a 469-horsepower engine, according to highway patrol documents and vehicle registration information.

Trooper Kim Miller said there were no signs the cars touched each other. She said Park's car lost control, veering off the road into a fence and small tree and flipping up to eight times.

"You could actually see the spots that were dug into the grass," Miller said. "As he's going end-over-end, the car is just coming apart. It was a very violent crash."

After Park lost control, Atwal veered the other way off the divided four-lane highway, across the median and into the opposite lane of traffic, according to the highway patrol accident diagram. He did not hit any vehicles there, Miller said.

Miller said Atwal wasn't tested for drugs or alcohol because it was obvious to crime scene investigators he wasn't impaired. She said Park also was not believed to have been drinking.

Atwal's representatives have said he did not previously know Park and was not at fault. The two were driving on a suburban road connecting the Walt Disney World resorts and upscale communities west of Orlando.

Atwal joined the PGA tour in 2003 as its first Indian-born player. He finished 140th last year on the money list, failing to keep full exempt status.