Venus Williams subject of wrongful death lawsuit

Venus Williams is the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the daughter of a 78-year-old Florida man who died a couple of weeks after a car crash involving the five-time Wimbledon champion.

According to police, Williams was crossing an intersection in her vehicle on June 9 when she collided with a car being driven by Linda Barson, whose husband Jerome was in the passenger seat and died 13 days later.

Civil court documents filed on Friday by the couple's daughter Audrey Gassner-Dunayer in Palm Beach County allege Williams was "driving carelessly and recklessly" which "led to the catastrophic injuries and death of Jerome Barson".

The suit says the injuries sustained by Mr Barson in the crash include "massive internal bleeding, a fractured spine and massive internal organ damage", and added he died on his wife's 68th birthday.

Mrs Barson survived the crash but the plaintiff says she suffered injuries including "a cracked sternum, shattered right arm, broken right wrist, hand and fingers".

The suit added: "Linda Barson's grief, mental pain and suffering caused by the wrongful death of her husband is compounded by her own severe physical injuries sustained from this motor vehicle crash."

Williams' lawyer said on Thursday she expressed her "deepest condolences" but that it was an "unfortunate accident".

The suit included the apparent damage to the Barsons' 2016 Hyundai Accent and Williams' 2010 Toyota Sequoia with "both vehicles towed from the scene of the wreck".

It added: "The front end of the Hyundai Accent 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. The defendant's Toyota Sequoia was also severely damaged."

Williams has not been charged but police hold her accountable for the traffic accident, and Palm Beach Gardens police's Major Paul Rogers said on Thursday the investigation was continuing.

Witnesses reportedly said she was driving her SUV through a red light at the intersection and into Mrs Barson's saloon car.

But Williams' lawyer Malcolm Cunningham, speaking before the lawsuit was filed, disputed that version of events.

"Ms Williams entered the intersection on a green light," he said.

"The police report estimates that Ms Williams was travelling at five miles per hour when Mrs Barson crashed into her.

"This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one."

Williams, currently ranked 11th in the world, is scheduled to begin her quest for a sixth Wimbledon singles crown next week.

In the absence of her sister Serena, who is out until next year as she is pregnant with her first child, Venus is one of the favourites at SW19, where she is seeded 10th.

The 37-year-old, who claimed her last title at the All England Club in 2008 but reached the final of the Australian Open earlier this year, was drawn to face Belgium's Elise Mertens in the first round.


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