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Venus Williams driving 'lawfully' at time of fatal crash, police say

Police initially said she was ‘at fault’ in a crash that led to the death of a 78-year-old man.
Jul 8th 2017, 1:39 PM 23,838 17

NEW EVIDENCE SHOWS Venus Williams was driving “lawfully” when she was involved in a deadly car crash that sparked a lawsuit, police in Florida said.

An initial police report on the 9 June crash in Palm Beach Gardens described Williams as being “at fault” in the incident.

Yesterday, Palm Beach Gardens police issued a statement saying new video obtained of the collision showed that “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.”

She was forced to halt in the intersection when a south-bound vehicle turned in front of her, police said.

Once that car passed, Williams began to proceed through the intersection, also in accordance with traffic laws.

By that time, however, the light had changed and a vehicle driven by Linda Barson, traveling west on an intersecting street, collided with Williams’ car.

Barson’s husband, 78-year-old Jerome Barson, died on 22 June of injuries sustained in the crash.

Barson’s family filed a lawsuit against Williams in Palm Beach County claiming she “negligently operated” her vehicle.

She has not been cited for any violation, and police said yesterday that their investigation was continuing.

Michael Steinger, a lawyer for the Barsons, said the video confirmed that Williams blocked his clients’ right of way.

“The video released by the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department (PBGPD) continues to support the fact that Ms Williams remained in the intersection at a red light, violating the Barsons’ right of way,” Steinger said.

“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.”

Williams, 37, reached the last 16 at Wimbledon yesterday. Earlier in the week at the All England Club, she broke down in tears during a press conference when asked about the crash.

Lawyers for both sides were in court yesterday in Palm Beach Gardens, where Williams’ attorney wanted a judge to set guidelines on how both parties could inspect the cars involved and retrieve data from on-board computers.

Williams’ lawyer had obtained an emergency court order preventing the Barson family from unilaterally inspecting the vehicles.

 - AFP 2017

Read: Devastated Venus Williams sobs over fatal car crash

Read: Venus Williams ‘heartbroken’ over fatal Florida car crash

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