Venus Williams' Lawyers Hope to Control the Crash Investigation
Updated July 7, 2017, 10:10 a.m. PT: An investigation into the deadly crash involving Venus Williams is ongoing, and now her lawyers have filed an emergency motion to stop anyone from inspecting her car.
Their concerns come from the chance that data from the two vehicles involved in the crash could be lost if it is improperly downloaded. They want experts on hand along with both parties and their legal counsel when the download occurs, rather than the Barson family's attorney having access to the vehicles.
"The on-board data of both vehicles will be critical evidence," court documents read. "Issues have been known to arise when a vehicle's data is downloaded. These issues included, but not limited to, the unintentional loss of the data. For that reason, no party should be allowed to inspect the vehicles until all Parties can be present with their experts and this Court issues a procedure for collecting the vehicles' data."
Williams' lawyers are instead asking that inspections of the vehicle be postponed until the court can establish "procedure for the proper collection of all data." A hearing is scheduled for today.
Updated July 1, 9:40 a.m. PT: In the wake of the car crash that claimed the life of Jerome Barson, Venus Williams has released a statement. Williams was reportedly in one of the cars involved in the accident and has offered some words of sympathy to Barson's family.
On her Facebook, Williams wrote, "I am devasted [sic] and heartbroken by this accident. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers."
At this time, this is Williams' only official statement.
Original story: Venus Williams, professional tennis player and sister of Serena, was reported to be involved in a fatal car accident with an elderly couple on June 9 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Jerome Barson, 78, died of head trauma from the accident two weeks later.
It was originally reported that the accident was Williams’ fault, then that it was simply an accident-inducing traffic jam that Williams happened to be involved in. Linda Barson, the victim's wife, told police in the original report that “she was approaching westbound... when Venus’ northbound SUV suddenly darted into the intersection,” as reported by TMZ. The swerve into the intersection apparently caused Linda to T-bone Williams’ car.
According to The New York Times, Williams’ lawyer Malcolm Cunningham released a statement about the incident: “Ms. Williams entered the intersection on a green light. The police report estimates that Ms. Williams was traveling at 5 mph when Mrs. Barson crashed into her. Authorities did not issue Ms. Williams with any citations or traffic violations.”
At the time of the accident, Williams reportedly told local police that a traffic backup caused her to slow down to 5 mph after attempting to cross the intersection. Police also reported that Williams was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to The Associated Press.
It is important to note that with the facts reported thus far, using the terms “at fault” or “responsible” in a fatal situation like this are extreme, and it's likely that they have only been used in reports because of Williams’ high profile. “This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one," Williams’ lawyer said. It seems that is the only sure statement at this time.