Venus Williams has been sued by the family of a 78-year old who lost his life as a result of her actions behind the wheel.
As previously reported, the tennis great was blamed by police on June 9 after she drove into an intersection in Florida and caused a car accident that eventually resulted in the death of a man named Jerome Barson.
Jerome was the passenger in a car driven by his, Linda, who explained to authorities at the time of the crash that she was driving her Hyundai westbound in Palm Beach County when she suddenly came upon Williams’ SUV.
Venus was driving northbound and said she slowed her vehicle down to a near crawl due to a traffic build-up in front of her.
She told investigators that she had entered the six-lane intersection on a green light…
… but had been forced to stop midpoint by the aforementioned traffic ahead of her.
She said she did not see the Barsons’ car when she crossed into their lanes, while Linda said the change of pace in Williams’ car made the accident unavoidable.
In their official statement shortly afterward, the police wrote that Williams was “at fault for violating the right of way of [the other driver].”
Jerome tragically suffered massive internal bleeding as a result of the crash, along with a fractured spine and very serious internal organ damage.
He was taken to an ICU unit where he lingered and passed away on June 22 (his 68th birthday).
Linda, who survived, suffered a cracked sternum and multiple broken bones.
She and her family have now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams, arguing that Williams failed to yield the right of way and blew through a red light.
The legal document also alleges that Venus drove too quickly while distracted, recklessly creating a situation where the accident was unavoidable.
Police have said no drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash, while there’s no evidence Williams was using her phone or any electronics, either.
According to the lawsuit, the impact was so severe the Barsons’ car 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 Barsons are seeking unspecified damages for loss of companionship for both Linda and their family… loss of earnings… pain and suffering… and medical and funeral expenses, according to TMZ.
Palm Beach Gardens police say the crash remains under investigation, but it seems very unlikely Williams will be charged with a crime.
“This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one,” Williams’ lawyer, Malcolm Cunningham, said in a statement.
Venus is the number-ten seed this year at Wimbledon, which begins Monday in England.
Her five titles at this event are among her seven Grand Slam championships total.