Venus Williams is defending herself amid a wrongful death lawsuit following a fatal vehicle collision on June 9.
The tennis star, 37, countered claims she was responsible for the deadly car accident in new documents obtained by TMZ and Daily Mail. Williams says the severity of the injuries suffered in the accident could have been lessened had both passengers worn their seatbelts.
The estate of deceased 78-year-old Jerome L. Barson blames Williams for the death and says his wife was also seriously injured. Williams’ legal documents suggest the injuries were not severe enough to warrant a lawsuit under Florida law.
Williams also alleges the family’s vehicle was improperly maintained and not up to safety standards. Finally, she also attributes the accident to “third parties” that contributed to the busy intersection crash.
Last month a rep for Williams told ET Canada:
“Ms. Williams entered the intersection on a green light. The police report estimates that Ms. Williams was travelling at 5 miles per hour 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.”
Police have reviewed video evidence of last month’s car accident involving Venus Williams that left a Florida man dead. Surveillance footage of the accident shows Williams had lawfully entered the intersection when her vehicle was struck by an approaching car driven by the victim’s wife.
The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department launched an investigation into the June 9 crash between the tennis star and another car, which sent the car’s passenger, 78-year-old Jerome L. Barson to hospital. He later died of head trauma sustained in the accident on June 22.
The police department issued a press release in their on-going investigation on Friday after new surveillance footage emerged, showing Williams’ car legally entering the intersection on a green light before being hit by the car driven by Linda Barson.
The police findings say Williams was kept from completing a turn on the green light by another vehicle and was in the intersection as Barson approached a steady red light. As it turned green, she continued into the intersection and collided with the right front section of Williams’ car.
Barson initially claimed Williams’ SUV darted into the intersection. She told police there was not enough time to stop, which resulted in her T-boning Williams’ vehicle. Barson is reportedly suing the tennis champ for wrongful death.
Williams’ attorney Malcom Cunningham released a statement regarding the police report of the incident and the video footage:
“The update from the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department and video released today show that Venus lawfully entered the intersection on a green light and was impeded in her progress through the intersection. As the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department points out, once Ms. Williams entered the intersection lawfully, she had the right to proceed through the intersection and other vehicles including those with a red light changing to green, were obligated to yield the right-of-way to Ms. Williams. Ms. Williams is grateful for the continued diligence and efforts of the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department in its investigation. At the same time, as this process moves forward, she remains deeply saddened by the loss suffered by the Barson family and continues to keep them in her thoughts and prayers,” Cunningham said in the statement.
The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department continues to investigate the incident.