A lawsuit has been filed by the family of a man who died after an accident involving tennis star Venus Williams.
The police report immediately after the June 9 crash noted that Williams was at fault. According to a copy of the police report, Williams’ 2010 Toyota Sequoia SUV darted into an intersection in Palm Beach Gardens, near her residence. The other driver, identified as Linda Barson, said she could not stop her 2016 Hyundai Accent in time and hit Williams’ car. Her husband, Jerome Barson, 78, was the passenger in the vehicle. He died two weeks later as a result of head trauma. Linda Barson also sustained injuries.
Michael Steinger, attorney for Linda Barson, said on Good Morning America that the family is seeking release of evidence of the incident, which they say has not been handed over to them.
“At this point we are attempting to both preserve the evidence and gain access to evidence,” Steinger said. “There were video cameras placed at guard houses where Ms. Williams lives, police have refused after multiple requests to turn those over to us, and we would like to see visual portrayal of the accident on those videos. They have impounded all the vehicles and have impeded our ability to do our investigation and move forward. Not sure what their reasoning is. They have refused to turn them over to us at this point.”
The accident occurred after Williams was ousted from the French Open. Police have said there’s no evidence of alcohol, drugs or texting while driving were factors. She was traveling at around 5 mph when she entered the intersection, the police report states.
It would be rare for Williams to face criminal charges, ABC legal expert Areva Martin said.
“To be charged criminally in an automobile accident, there has to be a finding of reckless or wanton conduct,” Martin said. “None of that appears to be the case, so it’s unlikely she’d be held criminally responsible for the death of the man.”
Williams’ attorney says Williams entered the intersection on a green light that turned red during the turn. Williams got stuck in the intersection during her turn due to traffic, attorneys say, noting that Williams offers her sympathy.
“This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one,” Williams’ attorney, Malcolm Cunningham, said in a statement.