Venus Williams, 2nd driver won’t be charged in fatal crash, police say
No charges will be filed against tennis star Venus Williams and a second driver over a car crash that left one dead in June, Florida authorities said Wednesday.
The accident, in which the other driver’s Hyundai Accent crashed into Williams’ Toyota Sequoia, left Jerome Barson dead. It injured his wife, Linda, who was driving when the crash happened at an intersection in Palm Beach Gardens.
An investigation supported by video surveillance showed Williams did not violate the other driver’s right of way, the Palm Beach Gardens Police said in an investigative report obtained by CNN affiliate WPBF.
“Based upon this investigation and relevant Florida state statutes, no charges will be filed in this case,” the report said.
Palm Beach Gardens Police obtained surveillance video of the June 9 collision from the perspective of a guard gate of a residential community near the intersection.
On the basis of the video, police said in a statement shortly after the crash that, “the vehicle driven by Venus Williams lawfully entered the intersection on a circular green traffic signal, and attempted to travel north through the intersection.”
Williams came to a stop as she traveled north through the intersection “to avoid a collision” when a car going west made a left turn in front of her, according to authorities.
She then continued north, in accordance with state law, before another car collided with her vehicle, police said.
Two weeks after the crash, Jerome Barson died in a hospital. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams, citing negligence.
The lawsuit stated that Barson’s injuries included “severed main arteries, massive internal bleeding, a fractured spine, and massive internal organ damage.”
Earlier this year, Williams’ attorneys filed a protective order, saying they got less than 24 hours’ notice that the Barson family’s counsel was going to download vehicle data from the tennis star’s SUV, CNN affiliate WPEC-TV in West Palm Beach reported.
A judge granted an emergency motion in July that allowed Williams’ SUV to be searched. Both parties were given a chance to download and inspect crash data from the two vehicles involved.
The tennis star, 37, broke down in tears at Wimbledon in July when reporters questioned her about the wreck.
“There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and — yeah. I’m completely speechless,” Williams said.