Venus Williams Files Emergency Protective Order in Car Crash Lawsuit

Athlete's lawyers raise questions about inspection protocol with new court filing

By Samantha Schnurr Jul 06, 2017 5:58 PMTags

Amid the ongoing investigation into a deadly car crash involving Venus Williams, the tennis player's lawyers have filed an emergency motion regarding inspection of her car.

On June 9 in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Williams was driving when she collided with another car at an intersection. Jerome Barson, a 78-year-old passenger in the other car, died two weeks later after being taken to the ICU with internal bleeding and organ damage, according to court documents. Barson's wife, Linda Barson, was behind the wheel of their 2016 Hyundai Accent and approaching the intersection when William's 2010 Toyota Sequioa SUV moved into the intersection at the same time.

According to the accident report, Linda told authorities she wasn't able to avoid crashing into Williams' SUV while the athlete claimed that she entered the intersection during a green light, but stopped in the middle because of traffic. She also said she did not see the Barsons' car when she crossed into the lanes.

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A portion of the report stated "[Venus] is at fault for violating the right of way of [the other driver]." However, the 37-year-old has not been cited or charged and the investigation is ongoing.

After Barson's death on June 22, his estate filed a wrongful death action lawsuit against Williams. According to court documents obtained by E! News and filed on July 5 in connection with the lawsuit, Williams' lawyers filed a motion to prevent Barson's lawyer from conducting an inspection of the Hyundai Accent and downloading its data today out of concern that evidence could be destroyed or lost in the process of the inspection.

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Barson Family

"The on-board data of both vehicles will be critical evidence," the court documents read. "Issues have been known to arise when a vehicle's data is downloaded. These issues included, but not limited to, the unintentional loss of the data. For that reason, no party should be allowed to inspect the vehicles until all Parties can be present with their experts and this Court issues a procedure for collecting the vehicles' data."

Williams' counsel has requested inspection of either car be deferred until the court has provided a "procedure for the proper collection of all data." A hearing has been set for Friday. 

After the crash, Williams' attorney, Malcolm Cunningham, told E! News, "Ms. Williams entered the intersection on a green light. The police report estimates that Ms. Williams was traveling at 5 miles per hour 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."

Williams later spoke out directly on Facebook, writing, "I am devastated and heartbroken by this accident. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers."

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