Venus Williams Sued for Wrongful Death

Lawsuit accuses her of running red light, causing fatal car crash
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2017 10:12 AM CDT
Venus Williams Sued for Wrongful Death
In this Feb. 2, 2017, file photo, Venus Williams reacts during her match against Kristina Mladenovic at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy-2017 tennis tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia.   (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky, File)

Venus Williams is being sued for wrongful death over the fatal car crash she was involved in earlier this month. A police report states Williams was at fault when she entered a Florida intersection June 9 and was T-boned by another vehicle that had the right of way; the couple inside, Jerome and Linda Barson, suffered major injuries. Jerome, 78, died two weeks later. According to the Barson family's lawsuit, Williams ran a red light and was driving too fast while distracted, TMZ reports. Williams has previously claimed she entered the intersection on a green light but was forced to slow down to 5mph in the middle of the intersection due to traffic and the light turned red while she was in the intersection, per ESPN. But witnesses also told police she ran a red light, the Boston Globe reports.

The lawsuit says that Williams created a scenario in which the crash was unavoidable, and that the Barsons' car 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." Linda Barson suffered a cracked sternum and multiple broken bones. The couple had been married 33 years and Jerome died on Linda's 68th birthday, per TMZ. The suit seeks damages for loss of companionship, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and medical and funeral expenses. Williams has not been criminally cited or charged; a legal expert said Friday on Good Morning America that won't likely happen as police would have to find "reckless or wanton conduct" on Williams' part in order to do so. (More Venus Williams stories.)

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