While Venus Williams was reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon on Monday, she also won a small battle in the tragedy that was the fatal car accident she was involved in last month. The collision ultimately claimed the life of 78-year-old Jerome Barson, whose family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the tennis superstar.
On Friday, video surveillance released by Palm Beach Garden police from the gated community where the 37-year-old lives showed her legally entering the intersection which ultimately led to the crash. Because of the footage, investigators have rescinded their initial conclusion that she was at fault, but the probe is still ongoing.
Also on Friday, attorneys for Williams were able to work out a deal with lawyers representing the Barson family to inspect data collected from their client’s car and provide it to the other side. Gary Iscoe, who is representing Barson’s daughter, welcomed the agreement, as the family is not backing down from its assertion that Williams was to blame for what happened.
“We are very pleased that the evidence will be properly examined and preserved,” Iscoe said after the hearing. “We are confident that the evidence will show that Ms. Williams was at fault,” he added, despite the latest police pronouncement that video of the scene show the opposite.
Malcolm Cunningham, part of Williams’ legal team, told the Palm Beach Post he was relieved the facts were being made public.
“By citing certain [Florida state] statutes and pointing out that Ms. Williams was lawfully in the intersection and that other vehicles had to yield the right of way at that point, these statements together certainly suggest she was legally in the intersection,” Cunningham said.
The video shows that when the athlete’s black SUV reached the intersection, a dark colored sedan turned left in front of her, causing her to stop. She then continued straight, which was when the Barson’s car, driven by Jerome’s wife Linda, collided with Williams.
Focus on Tennis
Amid the drama of the aftermath, Williams certainly hasn’t been letting any of it affect her performance on the court in Wimbledon.
On Friday, the 10th seed was a 1-3 favorite over Naomi Osaka of Japan and won, 7-6, 6-4. In Monday’s fourth round, she was favored over 19-year-old Ana Konjuh and won: 6-3, 6-2. In four matches, she has lost just one set.
By beating the teenager, she reaches her 13th Wimbledon quarterfinals in 20 appearances and is the oldest woman since Martina Navratilova in 1994 to reach that round at the All England Tennis Club. The bad news is that her opponent is Jelena Ostapenko, winner of this year’s French Open. This will be the first opponent where she has been an underdog. She is currently going off at 4-5 for Tuesday’s contest.
The five-time Wimbledon winner was a 4-1 selection to make the quarterfinals. She was also a 4-1 to make the semifinals and an 11-2 pick to reach the finals. Before the tournament, she was a 17-1 pick to win.