By: Krystle Crossman
Venus Williams should be preparing to compete in Wimbledon next week. Instead, she is dealing with a lawsuit. On June 9, 2017, Williams was found to be at fault in a car accident that took the life of a 78-year-old man named Jerome Barson. Williams was crossing an intersection as her light changed to red and she ended up sticking out in the middle of the intersection right in the path of the Barsons. They t-boned her SUV on the passenger side. Jerome was the passenger in the car that hit her. He passed away a few weeks after the accident due to his injuries and massive head trauma. His wife, who was driving, was also brought to the hospital for injuries that were considered non-life-threatening but were serious. The police found that Williams was at fault for the accident. William said that heavy traffic what’s the blame and that was the only reason that she was in the middle of the intersection.
Audrey Gassner-Dunayer, Barson’s daughter, is representing her father and filing a wrongful death suit. The family is also stating that the police have been impeding the investigation of the crash because they will not allow access to either of the vehicles which have been impounded since the accident. They also allege that there is video from a security camera of the accident but the police will not allow the family or their lawyer access to the footage of the accident. Their lawyer, Michael Steinger, says that the family simply wants to preserve the evidence of the crash and have a thorough investigation done. The police stated that they have already done their investigation and that Williams was found to be at fault for violating the right-of-way to the traffic that was heading through the intersection, but they are continuing to look into the matter.
Williams’ lawyer, Michael Cunningham, stated that the police did not issue a citation or moving violation at the time of the accident. They stated that Williams started through the intersection when the light was green but about to change and was stopped by traffic. When the traffic in front of her moved she tried to clear the intersection even though her light was then red and the other side of the intersection had a green. Police state that she was only going 5mph at the time of the crash but cut in front of the Barson’s who were going through the intersection when they had a green light. The family is seeking at least $15,000 in damages at this point.