By Bernie Woodall
(Reuters) – Florida police said on Friday that a newly surfaced video shows that tennis star Venus Williams was acting lawfully when she drove her sports utility vehicle into an intersection before a fatal crash with another car on June 9.
Jerome Barson, 78, who was a passenger in a sedan that collided with the vehicle Williams was driving, was fatally injured. His family filed a wrongful death suit against Williams last week.
Williams, the former top-ranked tennis player in the world, on Friday won her third-round match at the Wimbledon tournament in England.
A statement from the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department said a video, taken from the entrance to the gated community where Williams lives, indicates she acted lawfully in entering the intersection before the crash.
The statement said the video showed that a car not involved in the collision stalled Williams’ progress, causing her to linger in the intersection. When the traffic light changed, an approaching car driven by Barson’s wife, Linda, collided with Williams’ vehicle.
The initial traffic report said Williams, 37, was at fault for failing to yield the right of way to Barson. But on Friday, Major Paul Rogers of the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department said a fuller investigation began after Barson’s death on June 22.
He said police have not made a final determination of fault in the investigation.
The Barson family attorney, Michael Steinger, in a statement issued Friday, said the video “continues to support the fact that Ms. Williams remained in the intersection at a red light, violating the Barsons’ right of way.”
Williams’ attorney, Malcolm Cunningham, on Friday did not immediately reply to an email requesting comment.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Bill Trott)