Venus Williams blamed in fatal Palm Beach Gardens crash

Tennis star Venus Williams was at fault in a car crash that killed a 78-year-old man near her home in Palm Beach Gardens, according to a police report.

Jerome Barson, a passenger in the other vehicle, died from his injuries two weeks after the June 9 crash.

Barson’s family and widow, Linda Barson, issued this statement and declined to speak to the media: “[Barson’s widow] is extremely distraught and heartbroken; she was married to him for over 35 years.

Attempts to reach Williams, 37, for a comment on Thursday were unsuccessful. She is currently preparing for the Wimbledon tournament, which begins in London on Monday.

The crash report says neither drugs nor alcohol were involved.

The crash happened at 1:13 p.m. at the intersection of Northlake Boulevard and Ballen Isles Drive.

Williams drove a 2010 Toyota Sequoia at an estimated 5 mph and the Barsons, of West Palm Beach, traveled in a 2016 Hyundai Accent at an estimated 25 mph, according to the crash report.

Williams’ Toyota was T-boned by the Barson’s Hyundai when the Toyota passed through the intersection in front of the Barsons.

“The driver of [the Toyota] is at fault for violating the right of way of [the Hyundai],” the report said.

Both drivers said they had a green light, according to the report.

Linda Barson told police she was traveling west toward the intersection and slowing for a red light when it turned green. “[Barson] advised she proceeded thru the intersection when [Williams] cut across in front of [Barson], and [Barson] was unable to avoid crashing into [Williams].

Williams told police she was traveling north across the intersection on a green light when she stopped “in the median break due to other traffic.”

“[Williams] advised she did not see [Barson] when she crossed the westbound lanes of Northlake Blvd.,” the report said.

Malcolm Cunningham, a representative for Williams, issued a statement emphasizing that Williams had a green light and was traveling at 5 mph when “Mrs. Barson crashed into her.”

“Authorities did not issue Ms. Williams with any citations or traffic violations,” Cunningham said. “This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expressed her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one.”

Williams, a women’s tennis champion who has won four Olympic gold medals, lives in the Ballen Isles Community adjacent to where the crash happened.

Since turning pro in 1994, Williams has won seven Grand Slam titles. She has also teamed up with her younger sister, Serena Williams, to win several doubles championships.

tealanez@sun-sentinel.com, 954-356-4542 or Twitter @talanez

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