Newly-released police body camera video shows a Florida police officer telling tennis star Venus Williams that she likely caused a crash that killed an elderly man. (July 28)
Police body camera video footage showed tennis star Venus Williams calmly speaking to an officer in the aftermath of a June 9 fatal car crash. Williams is heard telling Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Police, “I was caught in the middle. I never saw that car coming.”
In the footage, released by Palm Beach Gardens Police, the officer told Williams, who was uninjured, that she likely caused the crash but he wasn’t “100% sure” she was fully at fault. He said he didn’t cite her because the actions of a third driver put her in a “bad spot.”
The video also shows the other vehicle’s passenger, 78-year-old Jerome Barson. His wife, Linda, was driving, and both their airbags deployed in the crash. Jerome Barson died June 22, nearly two weeks after the crash. He had a broken spine and internal injuries.
Security video previously released showed another car that was turning left had cut off Williams, forcing her to be trapped at an intersection. When she restarted, the light for the victim’s car had turned green and led to Williams’ SUV getting T-boned.
“He had a green light, so you kind of violated his right of way,” the officer is heard saying in the footage. “So, I think you lost your right of way.
“You got stuck in a bad situation,” the officer continued. “I’m not giving you a citation because I don’t feel comfortable writing a citation when I’m not 100% sure. And I’m not 100% sure in this case because you had the right of way but lost the right of way.”
Williams’ lawyers wrote in a court filing last week that Jerome Barson would not have been seriously injured had he worn his seat belt. The filing came in response to a wrongful death lawsuit by the estate of Barson. That contradicts the findings of a Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Police Department investigation.
“Based upon our ongoing investigation, there is evidence to indicate the Barsons were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash,” Palm Beach Gardens police spokesperson Paul Rogers told USA TODAY Sports in an email last week.
The auto negligence lawsuit against Williams was filed in Palm Beach County on June 30 and seeks unspecified monetary damages and…