Venus Williams settles fatal crash lawsuit
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Tennis star Venus Williams has settled a wrongful death lawsuit related to a fatal car crash in Florida, court records show.
Palm Beach County court records show that the case was closed Friday. Terms of the agreement between Williams and the estate of Jerome Barson, 78, weren’t included in the documents.
Palm Beach Gardens police previously cleared both Williams and Barson’s wife, Linda, in the June 9, 2017 crash that fatally injured Barson. A police report said an unidentified third vehicle illegally cut off Williams as she tried to cross a busy six-lane highway near her home, setting off a chain of events that ended with a sedan driven by Linda Barson, 68, slamming into the passenger side of Williams’ SUV.
Jerome Barson died 13 days after the crash, and his wife suffered a broken arm and other injuries. Williams, 38, was not hurt.
Officer David Dowling, the lead investigator, said in his report that video from a nearby security camera shows Williams legally entered the intersection from a road exiting her gated neighborhood on a green light. As she started to cross, a dark sedan cut her off, forcing her to stop. When the sedan cleared her path, Williams began moving forward in her 2010 Toyota Sequoia, but that put her in the path of the Barsons, who now had the green light. The Barsons’ 2016 Hyundai Accent hit Williams’ SUV at 40 mph (65 kph).
Dowling said in his report that state law required Williams to exit the intersection and that even though Linda Barson had the green light she was obligated to make sure the intersection was clear.
Williams has career on-court earnings of about $40 million, her own clothing line and endorsement deals with Ralph Lauren, Kraft foods, Tide detergent and Wilson sporting goods. She also owns a small percentage of the Miami Dolphins.
Attorneys for Williams and the Barsons didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.