Police now say that tennis great Venus Williams was driving “lawfully” when she was involved in the fatal car crash that killed Jerome Barson and injured his wife Linda Barson, according to BBC News. The turnabout comes after the release of a surveillance video that seems to show Williams legally entering an intersection as the fatal crash occurs, as stated by Palm Beach Gardens Police.
Business Insider has corroborated this report, noting that AP has actually posted the surveillance footage to YouTube.
Earlier reports indicated that the five-time Wimbledon champion “violated the right of way of” Linda Barson, as noted by ESPN. That put her on the hook for a wrongful death suit, as reported by Crime Online.
The new video paints a different picture, however, showing Williams heading north and stopping her 2010 Toyota Sequoia SUV behind a white car at a stoplight in Palm Beach Gardens around 1 p.m. After the light turns green, Williams travels straight but is forced to stop after a dark-colored sedan turns left in front of her.
Williams can be seen continuing into the far westbound lane when a 2016 Hyundai sedan, driven by Linda Barson, T-bones her on the passenger side, as noted by TMZ. It has been reported that the Hyundai was traveling at 25 miles per hour at the point of impact.
— TMZ (@TMZ) July 7, 2017
Linda’s husband, Jerome Barson, 78, died from injuries sustained in the collision on June 23. Williams was not injured in the crash.
The man’s family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams. Her lawyer, Malcolm Cunningham, has maintained that the June 9 incident was an accident.
Williams has not been cited or charged in connection with the crash. On Friday, Police spokesman Maj. Paul Rogers said the recent footage has led investigators to reverse their original determination that Williams was at fault. However, he noted that blame has not been assigned to one person.
In light of this development, the Barsons’ attorney provided TMZ with the following statement.
“The video released by the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department continues to support the fact that Ms. Williams remained in the intersection at a red light, violating the Barson’s right of way. There is nothing that disputes Ms. Williams’ was in the intersection on a red light, and the witnesses clearly confirm the Barsons had a green light and lawfully entered the intersection.”
The tennis star’s lawyer also spoke out about the newly released surveillance footage, according to BBC News.
“Ms. Williams entered the intersection on a green light. The police report estimates that Ms. Williams was traveling at 5 miles per hour 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.”
During a Friday court hearing, both attorneys allowed data captured from the vehicles’ computer systems to be analyzed. The information could provide more insight into the cars’ speed and braking moments before the crash. This is an ongoing investigation.
[Featured Image: Palm Beach County Police]