UPDATE: Family of man killed in car accident involving Venus Williams to sue
The family's attorney, Michael Steiger, said on "Good Morning America" that Jerome Barson's family is pressing charges
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, police are investigating a car accident that involved tennis star Venus Williams and killed 78-year-old Jerome Barson. The accident, which occurred June 9, was first reported by TMZ Sports and later confirmed by the Palm Beach Gardens police. Barson died two weeks after the accident with head injuries incurred in the collision.
According to a police report, retrieved by ABC, Williams' SUV ducked into an intersection. Mr. Barson's wife, Linda Barson, 68, was unable to stop in time and hit Williams' SUV with her compact car. She told police that she was driving through a green light when Williams cut in front of her. Williams said that traffic forced her to stop in the middle of a lane after hitting a green light, blocking traffic, and that's when the collision occurred. She added that she didn't see the Barsons' car when she pulled into their lane.
According to police, there is no evidence that drugs or alcohol were involved with Williams' accident, nor was she illegally distracted by a cell phone or other electronic device.
The Barsons' attorney confirmed that Linda had sustained injuries as well, but offered little other comment. Williams' attorney, Malcolm Cunningham, said in a statement: "This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one."
The Barson family's attorney, Michael Steiger, said on ABC's "Good Morning America" that the family will be suing Williams for the accident. Steiger also mentioned that the Barson family is trying to get evidence of the incident released, which police are holding.
"At this point we are attempting to both preserve the evidence and gain access to evidence," Steinger said. "There were video cameras placed at guard houses where Ms. Williams lives, police have refused after multiple requests to turn those over to us, and we would like to see visual portrayal of the accident on those videos. They have impounded all the vehicles and have impeded our ability to do our investigation and move forward. Not sure what their reasoning is. They have refused to turn them over to us at this point."
The case will more likely than not be civil, as Williams was reportedly not involved in any reckless conduct, which is a prerequisite for criminal charges in a car accident. According to the police report, Williams was traveling at approximately 5 mph upon entering the intersection.
Williams will begin at Wimbledon as the No. 10 seed in England next week.
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