Surveillance Video Shows Impact of Venus Williams’s Fatal Car Crash (VIDEO)
UPDATE (7/7/17 at 5:20 p.m. ET):
It appears Venus Williams lawfully entered the intersection where her car was T-boned by a Hyundai in which the passenger was killed, according to surveillance footage obtained by TMZ.
The video shows the tennis champ entering the intersection, but slowing down so that a car could turn in front of her.
Once the coast was clear, she proceeded to go though.
Apparently, while Venus waited for the other car to pass, the light turned red, and the Hyundai with the green light slammed into Venus’s SUV.
Passenger 78-year-old Jerome Barson died days later in the ICU.
Learn more about the tragic accident and Venus’s response to the backlash next.
Original story (7/3/17 at 3:24 p.m. ET):
Under normal circumstances, a win at Wimbledon is cause for celebration — as it would have been for Venus Williams, who started her 20th Wimbledon championships by beating Belgian player Elise Mertens today, July 3.
But these are not normal circumstances for Venus, and at the press conference after the match, she had to address her involvement in a fatal car crash that occurred nearly a month ago.
A 2016 Hyundai Accent driven by a woman named Linda Barson collided with Venus’s 2016 Toyota Sequoia on June 9 at an intersection in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Linda’s husband, Jerome Barson, was riding in the passenger seat of the Accent and died in an intensive care unit nearly two weeks later.
Per the police report (via CNN), Venus’s Sequoia cut across the intersection in front of the Barsons’ Accent, and Linda told the cops she couldn’t avoid colliding with Venus’s car.
Venus was driving at 5 miles per hour at the time, the police report says, and she claimed she was stopped in the intersection because of traffic and didn’t see the Barsons’ car.
Jerome’s family has filed a wrongful death suit against the tennis star, saying the Accent was “crushed, the front windshield shattered, the airbags deployed, there was crush damage to the rear on the driver's side, and the back window was shattered,” while her car “was also severely damaged.”
Jerome suffered “severed main arteries, massive internal bleeding, a fractured spine, and massive internal organ damage,” the suit says — while Linda sustained broken bones in her sternum, right arm, right wrist, hand, and fingers.
The news of the lawsuit broke on June 30, and Venus posted a Facebook message about the accident that same day.
“I am [devastated] and heartbroken by this accident,” she wrote.
“My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson, and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.”
At the Wimbledon press conference today, a reporter asked the 37-year-old about the accident.
“I saw that you wrote on your Facebook some some very heartfelt words about the accident,” he said.
“Is there anything else that you’d like to say about that?”
“That there are no words to describe, like, how devastating and…” Venus replied, trailing off.
“Yeah, I am completely speechless. It’s just — yeah, I mean, I’m just…”
She started crying, and the moderator stepped in.
“Before we take any further questions for Venus, please be aware that she’s unable to say anything more about this, so I’d ask you to respect her wishes, please,” he said.
After a moment, someone started talking, but again the moderator intervened. “Can we just give her a minute, please?” he said.
Finally, having cried silently for a full minute, Venus said, “Maybe I should go,” speaking in barely a whisper.
Several minutes later, she returned to the conference, The Washington Post reports, and she answered questions about the game and about sister Serena, who’s currently pregnant.
This is undoubtedly just the start of this ordeal for the five-time Wimbledon champ, and we’ll bring you more developments as they transpire…