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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Tennis star Venus Williams settles fatal crash lawsuit

The crash occurred in June 2017.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed (John Walton/PA)
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed (John Walton/PA)

By Associated Press Reporters

Tennis star Venus Williams has settled a wrongful death lawsuit related to a fatal car crash in Florida, court records show.

Palm Beach County court records show that the case was closed on Friday.

Terms of the agreement between Williams and the estate of Jerome Barson, 78, were not included in the documents.

Palm Beach Gardens police previously cleared both Williams and Barson’s wife, Linda, in the June 9 2017 crash that fatally injured Barson.

A police report said an unidentified third vehicle illegally cut off Williams as she tried to cross a busy six-lane road near her home, setting off a chain of events that ended with a vehicle driven by Linda Barson, 68, slamming into the passenger side of Williams’s SUV.

Police previously cleared both Williams and Jerome Barson’s wife over the 2017 crash (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Jerome Barson died 13 days after the crash, and his wife suffered a broken arm and other injuries. Williams, 38, was not hurt.

Officer David Dowling, the lead investigator, said in his report that video from a nearby security camera shows Williams legally entered the intersection from a road exiting her gated neighbourhood on a green light.

As she started to cross, a dark-coloured car cut her off, forcing her to stop.

When the car cleared her path, Williams began moving forward in her 2010 Toyota Sequoia, but that put her in the path of the Barsons, who now had the green light. The Barsons’ 2016 Hyundai Accent hit Williams’ SUV at 40 mph.

Mr Dowling said in his report that state law required Williams to exit the intersection and that even though Linda Barson had the green light she was obligated to make sure the intersection was clear.

Williams has career on-court earnings of about 40 million dollars (£31 million), her own clothing line and endorsement deals with Ralph Lauren, Kraft foods, Tide detergent and Wilson sporting goods. She also owns a small percentage of the Miami Dolphins.

Lawyers for Williams and the Barsons did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

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