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Posted: June 29, 2017

Venus Williams responds to reports of involvement in fatal car crash


By John Pacenti, Daphne Duret and Conner Mitchell, Palm Beach Post

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. —

Tennis player Venus Williams has responded through her lawyer to reports that she was involved in a car crash in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, that led to a fatality.

The crash happened June 9, according to police, but it took three weeks for the news to emerge on TMZ Sports, which first reported the story.

A Palm Beach Gardens police report found Williams to be at fault for “violating” the right of way.

The Associated Press reported that Williams told police she entered the six-lane intersection on a green light but traffic forced her to stop while blocking a lane. She did not see Barson’s car when crossing into the lane.

Esther Linda Barson, 68, who told police she had a green light, T-boned Williams’ vehicle. Her husband, Jerome Barson, was in the passenger seat. He suffered head injuries and was rushed to the hospital, where he died on June 22, 13 days after the crash.

Linda Barson, who suffered broken bones and other injuries, told police she slowed for a red light but proceeded when the light turned green.

“The driver of V2 (Barson) advised she proceeded thru the intersection when V1 (Williams) cut across in front of V2, and V2 was unable to avoid crashing into V1,” the police report obtained by the Palm Beach Post said.

 A witness told police that after the light changed to green, Williams’ 2010 Toyota Sequoia crossed the lanes in front of Barson’s 2016 Hyundai Accent.

Linda Barson’s attorney, Michael Steinger, did not have an immediate comment.

Police say there was no evidence Williams was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or that she had been distracted by an electronic device. The police report said Williams has not been cited or charged.

F. Malcolm Cunningham Jr., Williams’ attorney, issued the following statement:

“Ms. Williams entered the intersection on a green light. The police report estimates that Ms. Williams was traveling at 5 mph when Mrs. Barson crashed into her. Authorities did not issue Ms. Williams with any citations or traffic violations. This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one.”

The Barson family referred questions to attorney Michael Steinger, whose firm did not immediately respond.

According to court records, the family already may be planning a lawsuit. In a petition filed Tuesday on on behalf of Barson’s estate, the only asset listed for Barson is “the expectation of recovery in an action for wrongful death.” It did not list an amount.

Williams was cited in 2013 for driving with a suspended license and paid a $163 fine, Palm Beach County court records show. In 2011, she was cited for failure to provide proof of insurance. She paid a $139 fine.

Barson’s wife has been cited for speeding in Palm Beach County three times between 2004 and 2013, according to court records.

Police said the crash remains under investigation.


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