Family of Man Who Died in Venus Williams’ Car Crash Sues Local Government
The family of Jerome Barson, the 78-year-old man who died in Venus Williams’ 2017 car crash, is suing the local government in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Us Weekly confirms.
Steinger, Greene & Feiner, the law firm representing the Barson family, is in litigation with the Steeplechase Neighborhood Improvement District in Palm Beach Gardens over the accident. According to the complaint, which was filed in June and obtained by Us Weekly, the family claims that if the streets in the Steeplechase Community, a private, gated neighborhood in Palm Beach Gardens, had been properly labeled, it would have been more difficult for the accident to happen.
Though the Barsons still hold the professional tennis player, 39, accountable for the incident, they believe that if the exit lanes for the northern entrance of the community had been appropriately marked to inform drivers on which lane to turn into, the crash could have been avoided. The family also blames the lack of a stop-bar at an intersection outside of the community as a reason for the crash. The case between the Barsons and the Steeplechase Neighborhood Improvement District is still active and could lead to trial if an agreement isn’t reached.
“We are in no way claiming Ms. Williams was not negligent in the fatal collision; however, we do agree that if the streets had been properly marked as they should be, it would of been a lot harder for Ms. Williams to make the unfortunate mistakes that she did,” Michael Steinger, founder of Steinger, Greene & Feiner, told Us exclusively.
Jerome and his wife, Linda Barson, who was 68 at the time, were involved in a car accident with Williams in June 2017 after the four-time Olympic gold medalist’s 2010 Toyota Sequoia SUV crashed into the couple’s 2016 Hyundai Accent as she drove through an intersection. Williams entered the intersection at a green light but became stuck when opposing traffic turned into her, according to the complaint, which is when she ran into the couple’s car that was proceeding left.
Jerome and Linda, who was the driver of the vehicle, were taken to the hospital after the accident, where Jerome died almost two weeks later in the intensive care unit. His wife suffered a cracked sternum, a shattered right arm, and a broken right wrist, hand and fingers.
In December 2017, the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department determined that neither Williams nor Linda were at fault for the crash and would face no charges. Authorities concluded that a third unidentified vehicle trapped the Olympian’s SUV in the intersection as she tried to cross a busy six-lane highway near her home. The tennis star was initially found at fault but, upon further investigation, police clarified in July 2017 that she had lawfully entered the intersection.
In November 2018, the California native and the Barson family reached a settlement over the accident.
After the incident, Williams released a statement on her Facebook in June 2017, telling fans that she was “devastated and heartbroken” and her “heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson.”
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