Police: Venus Williams caused fatal accident
JUPITER, Fla. (CBS12) —
According to a police report, tennis star Venus Williams is blamed for a deadly crash in Palm Beach Gardens that killed a 78-year-old man.
It happened along Northlake Boulevard and Ballenisles Drive. Palm Beach Gardens police say the crash occurred June 9 at 1:13 p.m.
According to the crash report, Williams, behind the wheel of a Toyota Sequoia, exited Steeplechase Dr. headed north and collided with another vehicle traveling west on Northlake Blvd.
The crash killed 78-year-old Jerome Barson of West Palm Beach.
The report states Williams is at fault for violating the right of way. She reportedly told officers on the scene that she did not see the other vehicle when she crossed Northlake Blvd.
Barson’s wife told investigators that she was slowing for a red light when it turned green and proceeded through the intersection.
Venus's lawyer tells CBS 12 she hasn't received a citation or ticket. CBS 12's Legal Expert Patrick McKamey says at this point she probably won't be charged with a crime. “If you look at vehicular homicide and what they need for the threshold of proof there, they would need some reckless driving and it doesn't appear that there was reckless driving because she wasn't cited for it,” said McKamey, However, McKamey went on to say the police report could still be used against her. “The fact that they drew that conclusion that she violated the other driver’s right away that certainly creates a problem for her in civil exposure,” said McKamey.
CBS12 reached out to Barson's family, who live in West Palm Beach. They declined to comment but did issue the following statement:
[Barson’s widow] is extremely distraught and heartbroken; she was married to him for over 35 years.
Statement via Vivian Gomez, representing the family’s attorney
Representatives from Venus Williams sent out a statement to the media. From Malcolm Cunningham:
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 expressed her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one.