Venus Williams is being sued by the family of the man who died as a result of a traffic accident that took place in Florida earlier this month. On Friday, the attorney for 78-year-old Jerome Barson’s family told Good Morning America that the family is in the process of obtaining evidence and filing a lawsuit against the champion. According to ABC News, Audrey Gassner-Dunayer, as a representative for her late father's estate, filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful death action with her family seeking damages in excess of $15,000.
Venus Williams was found responsible for an accident that resulted in the death of a 78-year-old Photo: Getty Images
"At this point we are attempting to both preserve the evidence and gain access to evidence," Michael Steinger said. "There were video cameras placed at guard houses where Ms. Williams lives, police have refused after multiple requests to turn those over to us, and we would like to see visual portrayal of the accident on those videos. They have impounded all the vehicles and have impeded our ability to do our investigation and move forward. Not sure what their reasoning is. They have refused to turn them over to us at this point."
Police found Serena Williams' older sister responsible for the fatal car accident that occurred on 9 June. According to a police report released on Thursday, June 29, Palm Beach Gardens police confirmed to investigators that Venus was at fault for the accident that left Jerome Barson with serious head injuries, which resulted in his death 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.
The family filed a lawsuit against the tennis superstar Photo: Getty Images
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. Venus was unhurt following the collision, while the Barsons were both taken to hospital. 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." 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.