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Venus Williams 'at fault' in fatal car crash, Florida police say

The accident claimed the life of a 78-year-old man

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Gemma Strong
Gemma StrongOnline Digital News Director
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Venus Williams caused a car crash that led to the death of a 78-year-old man, according to a police report released on Thursday. Palm Beach Gardens police said witnesses confirmed to investigators that Venus was at fault for the 9 June accident that injured Jerome Barson, who died two weeks later. According to the report, a vehicle driven by Mr Barson's wife Linda crashed into the side of Venus' SUV at an intersection. Linda told investigators that she had a green light and that there was no way to avoid crashing into the tennis star's car, after she allegedly drove across the intersection in front of them.

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Venus Williams was involved in a fatal car accident earlier this month

Venus, meanwhile, stated that she had entered the intersection on a green light, but had been forced to stop midpoint due to traffic. She said she did not see the Barsons' car when she stopped and was driving slowly, at around five mph. The 37-year-old was unhurt following the collision. The Barsons were both taken to hospital, and sadly Mr Barson passed away two weeks later from his injuries.

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The police report stated that "[Ms Williams] is at fault for violating the right of way of [the other driver]," adding that there were no other factors like drugs, alcohol or mobile phone distractions. Venus' lawyer Malcolm Cunningham told CNN in a statement: "Ms Williams entered the intersection on a green light. The police report estimates that Ms Williams was travelling at 5mph when Mrs Barson crashed into her. Authorities did not issue Ms Williams with any citations or traffic violations. This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one."

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Venus with her younger sister Serena Williams

Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, is due to play at her 20th Wimbledon tournament in London next week, where she is seeded 10th. Her sister Serena will not be taking part in this year’s championship, having announced her first pregnancy earlier this year.