Venus Williams Responds To Deadly Car Crash With Her Condolences, Amid Reports Of A Lawsuit
Earlier this week, news broke that Venus Williams was allegedly involved in a fatal car crash, where injuries sustained in the accident reportedly led to a man's death. The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department confirmed to Bustle that Williams was involved in the crash on June 9 and that the other vehicle's passenger died, but did not release any further information. On Friday night, Williams released a statement about the accident on Facebook, admitting that she is "heartbroken" over what happened. The athlete wrote,
"I am devasted [sic] and heartbroken by this accident. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers."
According to The New York Times, Jerome Barson was the 78-year-old passenger, who died two weeks after the accident. The Times and CNN are also reporting that Barson's family has filed a wrongful death suit against Williams. (Bustle reached out to Williams' publicist, as well as her legal representative, but did not receive an immediate response.)
As CNN reported, the lawsuit alleges negligence. Barson's injuries reportedly included "severed main arteries, massive internal bleeding, a fractured spine, and massive internal organ damage," while his wife, Linda Barson, who was driving, reportedly suffered a "cracked sternum and shattered right arm." The Times reports that neither driver was suspected of driving under the influence or distracted by electronics when the accident occurred.
In a statement released to CNN, Williams' attorney said,
"Ms. Williams entered the intersection on a green light. The police report estimates that Ms. Williams was traveling at 5 mph 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 expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one."
Amid this undeniable tragedy, the tennis player is currently in London, preparing for her 20th Wimbledon tournament, her rep confirmed to the Associated Press. Williams will still compete in Wimbledon, according to AP.