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Police: Venus Williams caused car crash that killed elderly man

By Ray Downs
Venus Williams hits a serve during her French Open women's second round match against Kurumi Nara of Japan at Roland Garros in Paris on May 30. Williams was involved in a fatal car crash that took the life of 78-year-old Jerome Barsons. Williams did not suffer any injuries in the crash. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/9c33ddfd6a740567f0e02a1c4f9fd9ed/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Venus Williams hits a serve during her French Open women's second round match against Kurumi Nara of Japan at Roland Garros in Paris on May 30. Williams was involved in a fatal car crash that took the life of 78-year-old Jerome Barsons. Williams did not suffer any injuries in the crash. Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

June 29 (UPI) -- Tennis icon Venus Williams caused a car crash in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. that killed an elderly man, according to a police report.

The June 9 crash caused the death of 78-year-old Jerome Barson, who was in the passenger seat of vehicle driven by his wife, 68-year-old Linda Barson at the time of the crash. Jerome was taken to the hospital, where he passed away from injuries two weeks later on June 22. Linda suffered injuries, including broken bones. Williams was not injured.

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Stories about what happened slightly differ. According to the police report obtained by the Palm Beach Post, witnesses said that Williams ran a red light through a six-lane intersection as the Barsons were driving into the intersection with a green light.

But Williams, 37, told police that she had a green light when she entered the intersection. However, she said, traffic prevented her from going further and the Barsons crashed into her when she tried to change lanes to move out of the pile-up.

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"What we can say is that Palm Beach Gardens Police Department is currently conducting an investigation into a traffic crash involving Venus Williams," Palm Beach Gardens Police Department spokesman Maj. Rogers said.

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Police said there was no indication Williams was under the influence of any substances.

Wiliams' attorney, Malcolm Cunningham, released a statement about the incident Thursday: "Ms. Williams entered the intersection on a green light. The police report estimates that Ms. Williams was traveling at 5 m.p.h. when Mrs. Barson crashed into her. Authorities did not issue Ms. Williams with any citations or traffic violations. This is an unfortunate accident, and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one."

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The Barson family could be in the process of filing a lawsuit against Williams. An item on Jerome's estate lists "the expectation of recovery in an action for wrongful death" as an asset.

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