Tennis player Venus Williams has been cleared of any wrongdoing in a case related to a car crash in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida last June, which resulted in the death of a 78-year-old passenger.
Neither Williams nor Linda Barson, who was driving the car that crashed into the passenger side of the multiple Grand Slam winner’s vehicle, will be charged over the accident, Palm Beach Gardens Police said on Wednesday, Florida newspaper the Sun-Sentinel reported.
"Based on this investigation and relevant Florida statutes, no charges will be filed," the statement from Palm Beach Gardens Police read.
The incident occurred when Barson’s vehicle careered into the right side of Williams’ car as the 5-time Wimbledon champion drove through an intersection in Palm Beach Gardens.
Barson received significant injuries, including a cracked sternum and broken wrist, while her husband Jerome, who was in the passenger seat, died two weeks later from injuries suffered in the crash.
Police initially charged Williams, 37, of running a red light and violating Barson’s right of way, but later rescinded their statement after inspecting CCTV footage, which showed that Williams had lawfully entered the intersection on a green light before being cut off by a third vehicle, forcing her to stop. When Williams resumed driving, she was directly in the path of Barson, who also had right of way.
The police report stated that, despite having the green light, Linda Barson should have checked the intersection was clear before moving forward. The family of Jerome Barson filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams, seeking unspecified damages.
The Barson family's attorney, Michael Steinger, was not satisfied by police conclusions, adding that the suit will be pursued. "Ms Williams clearly violated our client's right of way because our client had a green light, as indicated in each and every police report issued in this case to date," Steinger said.
"The report is further inaccurate because the video surveillance does not indicate the color of Ms Williams' light and therefore does not support the police department's conclusion."
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