In an about-face from previous statements, the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department announced Friday that Venus Williams had “lawfully entered the intersection” ahead of a fatal car crash June 9 that killed one and injured another.
The police department originally determined Williams was at fault for violating right of way in the initial police report. The initial report said that Williams had driven through a red light, illegally entering the intersection.
As a result, Linda Barson t-boned into Williams’s car, and Barson’s passenger and husband Jerome Barson was transported to the hospital, where he died from his injuries. Linda Barson was also injured in the crash, breaking several bones. Williams was not severely injured.
However, on July 7 they concluded that Williams’ account, claiming she entered the intersection on a green light but was interrupted by traffic, was correct. Police updated the incident report to state that “no final determination” had been made in determining fault.
On June 9, Williams entered an intersection with a green light, driving approximately five miles per hour. However, she reported that due to backed-up traffic, she was stuck in the intersection when the light turned red. At that point, Barson’s light turned green, and she barreled her car into Williams’ at 25 miles per hour.
Barson said she did not see Williams’ vehicle and was unable to stop in time to prevent the crash, Palm Beach Post reported.
In a statement posted on Facebook Sunday, Williams said, “I am devastated 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.”
Williams broke down in tears last week following a Wimbledon press conference. Reporters asked her about the incident, including Barson’s death. “There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating. I am completely speechless and it’s just — yeah, I just,” Williams said, unable to continue speaking as she began crying.
The route was reportedly a typical route Williams would take to get home, according to Palm Beach Post.
Barson’s family is currently suing Williams for Jeremy Barson’s death. The couple was married for 33 years. Linda Barson said her husband John died June 22, her birthday.
[Featured Image by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images]