Jerome Barson, 78, has died as the result of a car crash on June 9 that involved Venus Williams, according to TMZ.
Venus reportedly told police she was approaching an intersection in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where she has a home, when her SUV moved too far into the intersection and collided with a car driven by Barson’s wife. “The other driver says there was no time to stop and she T-boned Venus’ vehicle,” writes the outlet.
The New York Times reports spokesperson Maj. Paul Rogers as saying the accident is currently under investigation.
On Friday, The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department released a statement that said Williams’ ‘lawfully’ entered the intersection.
This article will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
Read on to find out what we know:
1. Williams Is Being Sued for the Crash According to Reports Obtained by TMZ
A police report obtained by TMZ Sports states that Williams is “at fault for violating the right of way of [the other driver].”
Williams allegedly told police she tried to make it through the intersection, but traffic caused her to slow down, and led to the collision. Williams was driving a 2010 Toyota Sequoia.
Police say there is no evidence that Venus was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or that she was distracted by an electronic device.
The crash happened outside the Ballenisles Country Club, where Williams owns a home, the Palm Beach Post reports.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and said requests for the accident report have been forwarded to the Palm Beach Garden’s city clerk for processing.
Malcolm Cunningham, an attorney representing Williams, issued a statement to WPTV.
“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,” Cunningham’s statement said. “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.”
On Friday, TMZ obtained the lawsuit, which stated Venus “failed to yield the right of way, blew through a red light, drove too fast while distracted, and recklessly created a situation where the accident was unavoidable.” The suit seeks “unspecified damages for loss of companionship for both Linda and their family, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and medical and funeral expenses.”
2. Williams Was in a Crash in 2013 and Was Cited for Driving With a Suspended License
Venus Williams has been cited at least twice for traffic violations in Palm Beach County in the past, according to court records obtained by Heavy. In 2011, she was stopped by the Jupiter Police Department and cited for driving with no proof of insurance. She was issued a $116 fine, which was increased to $139 in December 2011 for failure to pay on time.
Williams was also cited after a 2013 incident. She was issued an infraction by the Florida Highway Patrol for unknowingly driving with a suspended or revoked license. That charge was filed after she was involved in a crash on Intestate 95 in Palm Beach County. Details of the crash, including whether she was at fault, were not immediately available. She paid a $166 fine for that infraction. Her license had been suspended on May 8, 2013, for failure to pay fines, court records show. The crash occurred on July 3, 2013.
3. The Victim Died on His Wife’s 68th Birthday
Barson, who also went by Jerry, suffered severe head trauma, massive internal bleeding, a fractured spine, and internal organ damage from the car crash. He was placed in the ICU and died on on June 22– Linda’s 68th birthday.
Barson and his wife, Linda, 68, are from West Palm Beach, Florida. They were married for over 33 years.
He and his wife ran a company that booked cruises for travelers, the Palm Beach Post reports.
“Mrs. Barson is suffering intense grief and doesn’t know how she will go on,” said Michael Steinger, Linda Barson’s attorney, told CNN. “Her husband of 35 years was struck by Venus Williams, who was at fault in a car accident, which ultimately resulted in Mr. Barson being hospitalized 14 days with multiple surgeries which resulted in his death.”
4. Barson’s Wife Was Driving the Vehicle Williams’ Car Collided With
The vehicle that Williams’ car collided with was being driven by Jerome Barson’s wife, Linda Cohen Barson, who was also taken to the hospital. Her attorney, Michael Steinger, tells TMZ that she suffered broken bones and other injuries, none of which were life-threatening.
Like Williams, Linda Barson has a history of driving offenses in Palm Beach County, court records show. She was cited three times for speeding between 2004 and 2013 and paid fines as a result.
The attorney representing the Barson family, Michael Steinger, did not immediately return a request for comment from Heavy.
5. The News Comes One Week Before Williams Is Expected to Play in Wimbledon
Williams, 37, is gearing up for her 10th Wimbledon, which begins Monday in London.
Venus’ sister, Serena, will be absent from this year’s tournament, as she’s expecting a baby in September. Williams, a five-time champion, is expected to be a focus at this year’s Wimbledon, as is Petra Kvitova, who has won the championship two times.
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