Posted: 12:06 pm Friday, July 28th, 2017
By Eric "Hollywood" Davis STAR 94.5
Palm Beach Gardens Police have released a statement addressing new video evidence brought to light in a fatal car crash involving tennis player Venus Williams.
The June 9 crash involved Williams, 37, and Linda Barson, 67. Barson was driving a Hyundai Accent and had a red light as she approached the intersection, but it then turned green and she entered the intersection, clipping the right front of Williams’ 2010 Toyota Sequoia, police said.
Barson’s husband, 78-year-old Jerome Barson, was in the passenger seat of the vehicle.
Williams had a green light when she entered the intersection, police said. A statement from police released Friday said she entered the intersection legally. The conclusion was reached after officials reviewed video surveillance footage.
“After the initial investigation was conducted, new evidence into the incident was located,” Palm Beach Gardens Police Department said in a Friday news release. “Based on the evidence obtained in the ongoing investigation, it has been determined the vehicle driven by Venus Williams lawfully entered the intersection on a circular green traffic signal, and attempted to travel north through the intersection to BallenIsles Drive. As Williams was traveling through the intersection, a Nissan Altima entered the intersection traveling south, and made a left turn in front of William’s vehicle, causing her to stop advancing through the intersection to avoid a collision.”
Linda Barson, the driver of the Accent, told police she didn’t see Williams’ SUV and wasn’t able to stop without hitting it. She said she slowed down for a red light but continued driving once the light turned green.
The police statement continues: “After the Nissan had proceeded past Williams, Williams then started to proceed north through the intersection in accordance with F.S.S. 316.075 (1)(a)1. The vehicle driven by Linda Barson was traveling west on Northlake Blvd, in the outside lane, approaching a steady red traffic signal. The traffic signal then cycled to green, at which time Barson continued westbound and entered the intersection. The front end of Barson’s vehicle collided with the right front of William’s vehicle.”
Linda Barson’s husband, 78-year-old Jerome, suffered head injuries and was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where he died June 22.
Palm Beach Gardens Police spokesman Maj. Paul Rogers said police are still working to identify the driver of the Altima.
Williams has not been cited or charged. According to a June 30 report from The Associated Press , police originally said Williams was at fault for the crash.
On Wednesday, her lawyers won an emergency protective order to prevent the Benson family from independently inspecting and receiving crash data from the Hyundai Accent, the Bensons’ car.
Williams’ attorney, Kevin Yombor, said the Benson’s lawyers gave them less than 24 hours notice about the inspection of the vehicle.
“The on-board data of both vehicles will be critical evidence. Issues have been known to arise when a vehicle’s data is downloaded. These issues included, but not limited to, the unintentional loss of the data,” the court documents read, according to E! News. “For that reason, no party should be allowed to inspect the vehicles until all Parties can be present with their experts and this Court issues a procedure for collecting the vehicles’ data.”
“There really are no words to describe, like, how devastating…” Williams said Monday when asked about the crash at Wimbledon. “I’m completely speechless.”
It was an echo of the statement posted to her Facebook page Sunday.
“I am devastated and heartbroken by this accident,” Williams wrote. “My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.”
Williams was not hurt in the crash.
Barson’s family is suing Williams for unintentionally causing his death. The couple was running errands for an upcoming family Disney cruise, their attorney, Michael Steinger, said.
According to the suit, the crash injured Linda Barson, who is recovering from a cracked sternum, shattered right arm, broken right wrist, hand and fingers.
Police said the crash continues to be under investigation based on the new evidence.
“As per Florida statutes, due to the continuing investigation of this incident, no additional information will be released at this time,” the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department said.