FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A police officer told tennis star Venus Williams she likely caused a crash that fatally injured an elderly man last month but didn’t cite her, saying it appeared the actions of a third driver left her in a bad spot, body camera video shows. The Palm Beach Gardens police video shows Williams speaking calmly to officers minutes after the June 9 crash. The video also shows the other vehicle’s passenger, 78-year-old retired teacher Jerome Barson, was conscious, but bleeding and confused. It was later determined he had a broken spine and internal injuries. He died June 22.
Security video released earlier showed Williams was driving straight on a green light as she exited her neighborhood but a car turning left cut her off, forcing her to stop midway as she crossed a busy six-lane intersection. When she restarted, her light had turned red and the Barsons’ light had turned green. Their Hyundai sedan plowed into Williams’ Toyota Sequoia SUV.
The body camera video released late Thursday shows Williams, 37, listening intently as she sat in her SUV as Officer David Dowling, the lead investigator, explained to her why he believed after interviewing her and witnesses that she was at fault but wasn’t going to give her a ticket. “You had a green light, so you had the right of way when you started to exit but because you got stuck in the middle of the intersection, you lost that right of way,” Dowling told Williams Linda Barson, he said, now had a green. light “and had no way of knowing that you were going to come across.”
Williams asked Dowling, “In a situation like that, what do you do? Because you can’t back up.”
“Exactly,” Dowling replies. “You just got stuck in a bad situation there. I would just let the insurance companies work it out. I am not giving you a citation.”
Palm Beach Gardens police now say the investigation remains open and no fault has been assigned.