NEWS

Venus Williams Car Crash: Pensioner, 78, Killed

A 78-year-old man died.

30/06/2017 09:39 | Updated 12 July 2017

Tennis star Venus Williams caused a car crash that led to the death of an elderly passenger in another vehicle.

Witnesses told Palm Beach Gardens Police that Williams went through a red light, causing an accident that injured 78-year-old Jerome Barson, who died two weeks later.

A police report says the 2016 Hyundai Accent driven by Barson’s wife Linda crashed into the side of Williams’ 2010 Toyota Sequoia SUV on 9 June.  

Benoit Tessier / Reuters
Venus Williams pictured at Roland Garros, Paris, on 4 June 

Linda Barson told investigators that she was approaching the intersection when her light turned green and that she was unable to stop in time. She suffered minor injuries in the accident. Williams, who turned 37 on 17 June, was not hurt.

She told investigators she had entered the six-lane intersection on a green light but had been forced to stop midpoint by traffic ahead of her. She said she did not see the Barsons’ car when she crossed into their lanes.

Palm Beach Gardens Major Paul Rogers says the crash remains under investigation. Williams, who has a home in Palm Beach Gardens, has not been cited or charged. The report says she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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Serena and Venus Williams during their Olympic doubles final match at Wimbledon at the London 2012 Olympics

Williams’ attorney Malcolm Cunningham said in a statement that Williams expressed “her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one.”

Michael Steinger, the attorney for Linda Barson, had no immediate comment.

Venus Williams, the older sister of tennis star Serena Williams, has won seven Grand Slam titles, including five at her favourite tournament, Wimbledon.

She revealed in 2011 that she’d been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease.

Her ranking fell outside the top 100 as she coped with her illness and injuries, and from 2011 to 2014, she only advanced past the third round at a major once.

Early round losses continued to mount for Williams and questions about retirement came up time and again. Those questions are still asked, but she had a career renaissance, and in January reached the finals of the Australian Open, where she lost to her sister.

The crash was first reported by TMZ.

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