Venus Williams no longer cited as ‘at fault’ in the deadly car accident

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I’m feeling pretty good about my decision to A) give Venus Williams the benefit of the doubt and B) believe Venus’s lawyer’s statement. As we discussed previously, Venus Williams was “cited” as being “at fault” in a major car accident down in Florida, where she lives. The accident happened a month ago, and Venus’s SUV was struck by a car as she made her way through an intersection. A passenger in the other car was hospitalized and died two weeks after the accident. The other driver – now a widow – sued Venus for wrongful death and made a lot of noise about how Venus should be put on trial for, like, vehicular manslaughter or something. Venus has been at Wimbledon for more than a week, and when she was asked about it in her first-round press conference, she broke down in tears.

So, what we knew was that the police publicly declared that Venus was “at fault,” even when her lawyer said that no, Venus entered the intersection on a green light. Well, a camera was somewhat angled at that intersection, and wouldn’t you know? Venus entered the intersection on the green light and the reason she paused, mid-intersection, as the lights were changing was because she was actually doing exactly what she was supposed to do, yielding the right of way to another car making a turn in front of her. Here’s the video:

With the appearance of this video evidence, the Palm Beach Gardens PD have issued a new, revised statement which takes back their initial statement that Venus was at fault:

They’re now saying: “After the initial investigation was conducted, new evidence into the incident was located. Based on the evidence obtained in the ongoing investigation, it has been determined the vehicle driven by Venus Williams lawfully entered the intersection on a circular green traffic signal.” The police say that the investigation is ongoing and “it is unclear who is at fault.” I was always taught – rightly or wrongly – that the person who crashes into another vehicle is always at fault to some degree. Venus didn’t hit anybody, yet people were treating her like she was the worst driver and the worst person in the world because someone else hit her. What’s interesting is that it really feels like the police department just didn’t even listen to Venus Williams’ statement, that she had the green light, that she was traveling slowly and cautiously through the intersection. They just went ahead and declared her to be publicly at fault. That’s not right.

Venus is still at Wimbledon too. She won her third round on Friday. She faces 19-year-old Croatian player Ana Konjuh in the fourth round.

Photos courtesy of PCN, Getty.

 

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112 Responses to “Venus Williams no longer cited as ‘at fault’ in the deadly car accident”

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  1. HelloSunshine says:

    Seeing the video makes the initial statement that Venus was only going 5 mph make sense now. For some reason, I couldn’t figure out how that made sense with the severity of the accident. This is tragic all around and I hope Venus and the widow can find some sort of peace with the situation, which isn’t going to be easy on either part.

    • blogdis says:

      On the other post I commented that whilst Venus might technically be at fault just for being in another persons right of way ( which is the law in some places ) I totally understand how one can enter an intersection legally on green and get stuck there as has happened to me more than once. It was insinuated that I was just being a typical bad female driver ? And I believe another poster said this can only happen to a$$ holes ? Where they now ? Dunno

      I also mentioned that having the green light does not obviate the need for defensive driving it seems the older lady was ” gaming ” the light in that not slowing down on approach as by the time you get to the light it will be green ( I see drivers do this before and basically just blast through an intersection within a millisecond of getting the green
      In any event I still have empathy for all involved

      • Marlene says:

        A green light really only means you have the right to go first – if and only if your path is clear. It does not give you the right to plough into other traffic in the intersection.

        Since Venus entered the intersection on a green light she had the right of way – all the way till she was out. It doesn’t matter that her light changed to red, she still had the right of way.

        The Hyundai driver was reckless. The fact that two other cars in outer lanes (left, closer to the middle) did not begin to move despite their light changing to green should have alerted her to the possibility that something was not right. And therefore she should have slowed down. But she just sped past them in an inside lane (which is a no-no on its own, BTW).

    • ELX says:

      The PD was so quick to declare her at fault too, when the other car struck VW’s car. I really wonder about the degree to which bias was involved as I’m sure VW is the only African-American involved.

      • ravynrobyn says:

        That really pissed me off! The police jumped to conclusions waaaaaaay too fast; how about taking a deep breath and waiting a day or two to find out what really happened. And Venus is rich, soo..

        I imagine the woman suing Venus acted so quickly due to what the PD said.

        Sad for everyone

      • oce says:

        @ELX – THIS SO MUCH. I knew there was no way VW was at fault – thank goodness there was video footage.
        As for race, I will share my experience: I am a Black female. I have ALWAYS driven just under or at the speed limit + abide all traffic laws. I am known as the sober driver, the person who drives like I am transporting the newborn baby home. Have never received a speeding ticket and I am in my 30s.
        2 years ago, driving in a ritzy town in #CLE, OH near my parents home, I was sitting at a red light. The light turned green and as I began to go, I hear a loud CRUNCH and got thrown forward. I was like what just happened!
        A white lady in a Mercedes SUV had slammed into the back of my car. I put the car in park, turned the flashers on, took off my seatbelt, and got out of the car. The white lady jumped out behind me screaming “I am SO SO sorry! I saw green and just slammed the break – are you ok??” I nodded, yes, and looked at my Dad’s car.
        A police officer suddenly comes by – he is white. He stops, lights flashing, asks the white lady “Ma’am, are you ok? What happened here?” The lady said she accidentally slammed her car into me. THe police officer looked at me, looked at the lady, looked at my car and said “Are you sure you actually hit her car? I don’t see anything here”. The police officer than rubs my car bumper. I am standing here, in shock at the whole echange, and laughing say ” Officer, are you kidding me? I just got pushed up like 5 feet!”. THe police office then says to me “Miss, settle down, ok? Please remain calm”. I was so shocked, my jaw-litterally opened. The white lady then says “I don’t know if I actually even hit her, to be honest”.
        At this point, I ignore the police officer and say to the lady “I need your insurance so I can give this info to my father to handle this. It is his car that you hit.”
        The police officer asked if that was necessary, because he could not see any damage. I ignored him – the lady looked at the cop, then went and got her insurance info and gave it to me. She begged me to let her know if there was anything she could do – I said my father would follow up with her if necessary. MY Dad rolled his eyes, looked at his car, and said it wasn’t worth it “to deal with those kind of people”.
        SO – it doesn’t surprise me AT ALL that they blamed Venus at first. We (PoC) are always at fault, even when we are not.. I now live in NYC and only drive when I rent a car to drive home to CLE to see Mom+Dad – I use the subway and bike here in NYC.

      • Daisy says:

        @oce I’m so sorry that happened to you. I don’t even know what else to say. It makes me sick to my stomach that this kind of thing still happens. I full realize that I live in a fairly insulated state (Vermont) but it still blows me away every time I hear such a flagrant instance of racism like you experienced. We have a LOOOONG way to go.

      • SoonerOrLaterWeAllSleepAlone says:

        @OCE as a mixed PoC – i have to agree with your experience as true, no matter how illogical, bizarre, backwards and unjust. I’m now schooling my 11 yr old about “reality”. We just watched “42″ and Hidden Figures. I also admitted to my child that I have never been to the southern US and likely will never. My liberal bubble has all the racial tension I can Manage!

  2. Shelley says:

    I don’t understand why the police did not wait to view the tape before issuing any kind of statement in the first place! All of these cities are full of cameras it just seems logical to wait. I’m sure the lawsuit will proceed though, either against Venus or police

    • V4Real says:

      I wonder what the posters on here who was saying Venus was at fault have to say now.

      • FLORC says:

        I was a poster that said to some degree she probably shouldered some fault. Or maybe to rephrase… those who enter intersections and pause within them should be aware of state laws and flows of traffic. That is she entered illegally yea… her fault to some extent. Since the argument most were making was about intersection laws, right of way, and unfamiliar streets i do stand by my previous arguments.

        That said… the deceased was speeding and reckless. Now, I’m curious if this was a texting and driving accident with how fast it happened.

      • tmot says:

        She did not “enter illegally, yea.”

        She was fine. Not her fault. The other driver – speeding and reckless – was at fault. And is now trying to get money.

        So. Yeah.

      • cr says:

        “I’m curious if this was a texting and driving accident with how fast it happened. ”
        It was mentioned in last Sunday’s post on the suit that the widow has a couple of previous speeding citations over the last few years. It may just be age combined with not always being a safe driver.

      • perplexed says:

        Don’t you sometimes have to pause at an intersection when you have to yield to another car?

      • FLORC says:

        I haven’t kept up with every post. I’ll have to catch up.

        Perplexed
        To my knowledge… Not to the degree I saw in the video no.
        The intersections I’ve dealt with in my entire driving life is very black and white.
        Examples. 4 way stop. Each car goes in order of arrival. If an accident happens it’s because someone went out of turn.
        Light directed intersections. You go with the light and there’s no traffic to yield for with signs saying “no turn on red” and such.
        Or intersections where you just do not cross the lines until the light is green.
        Or worse. The intersection is just congested because a green light means stay within an inch of the other cars bumper. And screw the other cars.

        Every other time I’ve had a car service or wasn’t driving. But, I do see what happened. Personally, that’s never happened to me and I’ve never been on a situation where I was having to legally yield to a car at an intersection like that.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        @perlpexed-
        It looked to me that VW was nearly fully through the intersection when she was slammed broadly on her right rear quarter panel. This had to be an issue of speed and attention on the part of the other driver.

    • Tanguerita says:

      @tmot. Thanks for summing it up nicely. Yeah. When it comes to prejudice, some people wouldn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.

    • Marlene says:

      The police did not make a statement initially. The lawyer for the Hyundai driver leaked (carefully selected) snippets of the first police report, which was preliminary (just based on what the police observed at the scene).

      • ravynrobyn says:

        OH WOW. Did not realize that,
        Puts a very different slant on situation; still sad for everyone. Wonder if the woman would have been so quick to sue if it was a normal person with normal money.

      • jwoolman says:

        I suspect an ambulance chaser approached the widow because it was Venus Williams. I doubt texting while driving was involved, but the driver very likely did not look carefully to see if the intersection was clear and may even not have been slowing down much while approaching the red light, expecting it to turn green. She gambled and lost. Otherwise her speed would have been less and the impact might possibly not have been as damaging.

        But if the initial police report is confirmed, saying she and her husband were not wearing seat belts, that really is why he died. He died of head trauma, which suggests his unsecured body hit the windshield at sufficient speed to fatally injure him when the car’s velocity suddenly became zero but his velocity remained the same.

      • Marlene says:

        @ravynrobyn

        It was the daughter of the Hyundai driver, not the woman herself, who filed the lawsuit. The driver was also pretty badly injured in the crash, and I’m not sure how much of it is her doing. In fact, I suspect it’s the ambulance-chasing, grief-exploiting fame-whore of a lawyer who is the architect of this.

    • Taxi says:

      Probably because they didn’t know there was a tape.

  3. Thebees says:

    Why not just wait until you have all the evidence before you speak to anyone. The man who passed away is still VERY important but this woman as a career and public life that could have been effected in a huge way. Not to mention the wrongful death civil suit…. come on what type of investigator worked on this case? There is always a better way I guess…

    • abby says:

      ITA

      It is a tragedy for all but especially the Barsons.

      I am not sure but I think the initial report was based primarily on the investigation on the scene immediately after the accident. They interviewed Venus, the Barsons (or Mrs. Barson) and other witness(es). Witness(es) that claimed Venus ran a red light.
      http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/30/534965373/florida-police-blame-tennis-star-venus-williams-for-fatal-car-accident
      See, this is why I always question eye-witness testimony. Who exactly were these witnesses?
      From what I read (unconfirmed reports) these witnesses (really 1 witness) were traveling in the same direction as Barson so how can they be certain what color light Venus had when she entered the intersection?
      In a hypothetical situation, say where both lights were green at the same time in a light malfunction, both would be telling the truth. I know malfunctioning lights was not the circumstance here (although perhaps the timing of the lights should be examined nonetheless) but to dismiss Venus on the account of so-called witnesses who were clearly wrong was plain sloppy police work.
      Also, once Venus entered the intersection she had the right-of-way to clear said intersection. Basron was traveling too fast and did not pause long enough to ensure the intersection was clear before passing. Yes, Barson had a green light but you only move forward if it is safe to do so.

      Also, from what I have read (more unconfirmed reports) the initial report was released to the lawyers of each party only. Not the press, which likely explains why the entire report cannot be found online, only excerpts. It seems the Barson’s lawyer released selective portions to TMZ or whichever outlets broke the story and it snowballed from there.
      If true, no surprise. He is leveraging Venus’ fame for coverage for his client.

      I feel for the family because they are grieving. Today marks exactly a month since the accident and it hasn’t even been a month since Mr. Barson died. I am sure his family is devastated. They are not thinking, they are reacting and lashing out. That is expected.
      It’s their lawyer who should have known better.
      He should have known that a final police report can look very different from the initial findings. He should have known better than to suggest in the press that the local police are involved in a cover up – http://www.tmz.com/2017/07/06/venus-williams-car-crash-surveillance-video/ and http://www.insideedition.com/headlines/24245-lawyer-alleges-cover-up-in-investigation-of-venus-williams-after-fatal-crash
      That likely only pissed the police off. So he is smearing both Venus and the police. Great!
      And then he tried to access the vehicle data without proper notice? Like dude, there is a process and a proper way to ensure and protect the integrity of data during collection, preservation and handling. Due process and all that.
      Neither party wants to accuse the other (or be accused by the other) of losing or destroying evidence. Thank goodness the judge took care of that.
      The Barson attorney (Steinger) is either a fame-hungry ambulance -chaser or he is severely inexperienced. And to think he has commercials on TV (Steinger, Iscoe & Greene) , Yikes!

      If Steinger had any real sense he would have kept this low key and out of the press (at least until the police completed their investigation) because knowing Venus (well as much as a fan can) I suspect she feels so badly about the entire situation that she would have offered to pay for Mr. Barson’s medical bills as well as Mrs. Barson’s. That’s just who Venus is.
      But with these strong-arm tactics and public smearing- wrongfully so it turns out – Venus is likely to do minimal for them, if any at all.

      • cr says:

        “It’s their lawyer who should have known better.”
        I don’t know if he’s been their lawyer, or is someone they got afterward, but he’s incompetent. And the family is probably not in a state of mind to realize how incompetent he is.
        And yes, I could see Venus paying the medical bills just because. But she’s under no obligation to do so, especially with Steinger behaving the way he is.

      • Tanya says:

        As a general rule, lawyers who advertise on tv are not to be trusted.

    • Scal says:

      Police commonly do their ‘investigation’ of traffic accidents on site right afterwards and make a determination then. Usually it takes a lawyer, insurance, or being famous to get them to review it. Evidence from cars moves during cleanup.

      That being said the fact that she was famous should have had them waiting before releasing a statement. But their sop isn’t that out of the ordinary

    • jwoolman says:

      Untrained eyewitnesses are typically unreliable. I know that I would be. Things happen too fast and the brain fills in gaps, often incorrectly.

  4. GingerCrunch says:

    Ugh. There but for the grace of god goes someone else.

  5. LadyT says:

    Venus entered on green and the other lady sailed through on green. Just how short are yellow lights in Florida? Seems like way too short of a transition period to me. Also the other lady must have been approaching a red light at full speed gambling that it was due to turn green. Not illegal but definitely daredevilish.

    • HelloSunshine says:

      I was thinking the same thing about the woman going full speed. It seems like she had no intention of stopping no matter what. Are they saying the older woman definitely went through on green? Because I agree with you, that seems like an awfully short yellow light. Imo, the older woman wasn’t fully paying attention. The car next to her looks like it’s slowing down approaching the light

    • Jerusha says:

      And why does the video say Venus collided with the other car? The other car collided with her.

    • Scal says:

      I saw someone else point out that since the other driver is local-she most likely knows that road well. My guess would be that she saw the red light-knew it had a short change slowed down and then gunned it right as it turned green without looking.

      If anyone the person that I would claim is ‘at fault’ is the person who made the illegal left. But that person isn’t a famous tennis star so I’m sure they’ll be fine.

    • Connell says:

      I live in Florida, the west coast. The yellow lights can be very short, it depends. It could be 10, 20, 30 seconds. The green light time can vary. Because you don’t know how long the green will last, and you have no extra time on the yellow, you hang back. Wait until everything is all clear on both sides, and then enter when the green just turns. Otherwise, you may run out of time, and be under a red when you haven’t made it through the intersection. This scenario has never happened to me (knock wood). The signal system probably did contribute to this accident.

    • abby says:

      @ Lady T

      That is exactly what happened. According to Mrs. Barson’s own interview on the scene she admits that as she approached the light it was red and she started to slow but then it turned green during her approach and she picked up speed again. She never came to a stop or slowed down enough to accurately assess whether the intersection was clear of traffic.

      Below is a summary of Mrs. Barson’s statement from the report. I am still looking for the actual quote.

      “At the same time, Barson approached the intersection from the west. Barson initially had a red light but it cycled to green and she proceeded into the intersection where she hit Williams.”

      Also, that intersection has been the site of a number of accidents (5) in the past year or so, so I imagine the light sequence and the intersection itself will be examined now that a fatality has occurred. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/local/venus-williams-crash-what-caused-other-traffic-intersection/FX5rL4yNnUNubYuptU3X4M/

      • Hannah Lee says:

        “… she proceeded into the intersection where she hit Williams.””

        As tragic as this all is, there, right there, is the crux of what happened. A driver is responsible for the operation of their car at all times. They are responsible for whether or not their car drives into something, even something unexpected. They are responsible for making sure an intersection is clear before they enter it. (as Williams did when she slowed for the car that pulled a left in front of her)

        Mrs. Barson’s car drove into Williams’ car, not the other way around. If Mrs. Barson was driving too fast approaching a red light that turned green to see a car in the intersection ahead of her (esp a car going only 5-10 mph) , and was driving too fast to stop or seriously slow down when she noticed the intersection wasn’t clear, she was going too fast.

  6. PettyRiperton says:

    Sorry for that person’s loss but the widow need to call this lawsuit off the widow has no case.

  7. Kate says:

    So glad for Venus. My heart broke for her at that press conference.

  8. Indiana Joanna says:

    I’m so happy the police have revised their statement after reviewing the video. From the confusing initial details released it never sounded clear whether or not Venus was actually responsible for the crash.

    Were the initial incorrect details released because the news was that the widow is suing the world famous Venus Williams?

  9. magnoliarose says:

    This story was confusing from the start. I couldn’t quite understand how the woman hit Venus who wasn’t moving and somehow it ended with a fatality. The other driver was going very fast and from the pause before she hit Venus, she should have seen the car was there. She just drove on through like she was the one trying to beat a light.
    Unfortunately, sometimes people want to hold famous people with money accountable before there is any proof of anything. She was already talking about a lawsuit for wrongful death and pushing the story on TV tabloid shows. I am truly sorry her husband died but it isn’t fair to smear someone before a full investigation is finished.

  10. nikki says:

    For some reason i think Venus’ well paid lawyers found this tape. Not Palm Beach Gardens police. Which is why we have had a new decision.

    The comments Venus has had to endure since they made the initial statement.

    I need to know who “all the witnesses” were who swore Venus sped through the intersection.

  11. SoulSPA says:

    I also drive and have been taught to always drive with a preventive/cautionary attitude to avoid crushing into another vehicle. While being in an intersection is tricky, the driver of vehicle 2 should have stopped short in front of a vehicle 1 that barely moved or was stuck (can’t remember whether vehicle 1 was moving or not). In the worst case, vehicle 2 could have been touched in the rear by another vehicle (3) whose driver would have not been diligent enough to avoid a collision. Not ideal, but maybe a life would have not been lost.

    Even if Venus had committed a traffic violation, the responsibility for the collision stands with the other driver. Look right and left and assess whether it’s safe to pass through the intersection.

    With so many traffic accidents happen daily, it is clear that this story made the news because of who Venus is. Authorities should exhaust all investigation scenarios before making official statements or wait until the case is on trial.

  12. Kate says:

    Oh you’re telling me the police rushed to publicy blame a black person for something they were not guilty of? Shocking!!

  13. cindyp says:

    Of course the cops are going to automatically assume the black woman’s at fault.

  14. Insomniac says:

    I *knew* that story from the cops made no sense. The other driver just plowed right into her! Did they not see her car there?

  15. Devereaux says:

    Thank god we’re all on tape and on camera and recorded everytime we leave the house. In this instance it appears to be worth it.

    I am sorry for the fatality, but it appears that Venus was not at fault.

    I too thought the initial reports didn’t make any sense. What I have learned in my long long life is that if something doesn’t seem to make sense, its because it doesn’t make sense.

    Mostly.

  16. Casi says:

    Fault and negligence are two different things. I suspect she’ll still be paying something.

    • V4Real says:

      Negligence was not on Venus, the other driver was negligent.

    • Anon33 says:

      Fault and negligence are two different things, but in this case Venus had neither. If she entered the intersection legally, she was both not at fault, AND there was no negligence on her part.

      Signed, a paralegal.

      • Casi says:

        In one of the very first claims I was a primary adjuster for, my insured was traveling south and turning left. She legally entered the intersection following another driver who stopped, forcing her to stop briefly as well. Her arrow turned red while she was in the intersection and she tried to hurry up and get out of it.

        My claimant was northbound and her light turned green. She was older and she claimed the sun was in her eyes so she didn’t see the 3/4-ton pickup truck my insured was driving. She was anxious to get home, so when the light turned green she picked up speed going into the intersection and collided her car with my insurer’s truck right between the front and back doors. The lady’s car was destroyed and she was injured. The accident happened right outside a hospital and she drove herself in and went straight to the ER.

        The police report stated that her inability to see because of glare was a contributing factor to the accident and she initially said it was her fault because she hit the truck before she got a lawyer, at which time I could not speak directly to her anymore.

        I initially set the liability at 20% on my insured and 80% on the claimant, citing her initial statement and the police report for my reasoning. When I called the other adjuster to tell her my decision, she literally laughed out loud, asked me if I was new, and told me they had put 100% on my insured for being in the intersection after her arrow had turned red.

        The claims reviewer at my company called me in and explained that the other adjuster was correct. My insured did bear the majority of the fault for still being in the intersection. He did agree that I could put 20% on my.claimant for those factors, but he effectively reversed my decision. I had to call the other company and eat crow and offer to take 80%. In the meantime we had received a demand for the damages to her car; medical bills for a broken ankle, sprained knee, contusions from the seatbelt and and drapes from the airbag; and pain and suffering totalling $100,000.

        My offer was not good enough for the other company who insisted we were 100% at fault. The case went to arbitration and the arbitration panel decided we were 95% at fault. We settled out of court for 95% of $75,000.

        In my case, my insured driver was a white woman who was taking her husband for dialysis and my claimant was a black woman.

        This is just one case that is similar but not an exact parallel to this one in a state with similar negligence and traffic laws as Florida. And I initially felt like all of you do. But based on my experience in this and many other claims, the claimant’s insurance company will say that Venus should not have been in the intersection once her light turned red, Venus’s insurance company will say that she legally entered the intersection and couldn’t be at fault based on where the collision was, it will go to arb and Venus will bear at least a small part of the negligence–how much we will probably never know–and her insuramce company will settle out of court.

        Signed, An Insurance Adjuster

        P.S. this is why people are increasingly installing dash cams. I am now fairly frequently asked by people if their footage would be helpful. Um…yes!

  17. Lucy2 says:

    After seeing the video, this is exactly how I pictured it based on the description. Which is why I couldn’t understand why they were blaming solely Venus.
    I don’t think the police department should’ve issued any statements about fault until they had seen all of the evidence. I feel very bad for her, having to endure a lot of abuse about this when it wasn’t her fault. And of course I feel badly for the woman and her now deceased husband, but maybe she and/or her attorney shouldn’t of been so quick to publicly slam Venus and file lawsuits.
    It’s a bad situation all around, and everyone will suffer as a result of this trauma.

  18. Merritt says:

    This just confirms my original feelings about the widow in this case. The lawsuit was filed way too fast and the widow’s story never made sense. She had to have been speeding towards the intersection which is why she plowed into Venus.

    • V4Real says:

      I agree, her husband body was barely cold and she filed a lawsuit. I’m sorry her husband lost his life but it is her fault/negligence that he is dead. I guess it’s easier to put the blame on someone else instead of taking ownership for your own mistake.

      • jc126 says:

        Way too many older people are in denial about their capabilities, especially regarding driving. It’s so dangerous. I can’t count how many times I’ve read news stories about an elderly driver hitting someone or a building and it makes a reference to the driver claiming that they had their foot on the brake, not the gas, or otherwise claiming the car is at fault.

      • Hannah Lee says:

        Some people take the “best defense is a good offense” approach, and come out swinging after an accident, trying to own the narrative and the presumption of innocence even when they are at fault.

        I’ve seen it several times in accidents: once when a tractor trailer driver stopped in the middle of a narrow street and suddenly started backing up…straight into my car (despite me beeping my horn and flashing my lights and waving from my window) and faster than I could back away from him. After the crash, he immediately jumped out of his cab screaming at me that it was my fault and I needed to learn how to drive around big rigs. Another time a guy stopped suddenly and pulled a left turn across two lanes of traffic, causing two different chain reaction crashes from traffic on both sides of the street having to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting him. He jumped out of his car screaming that it was my sisters’ fault, braying about how he was a NY cop (this was in FLA) and was going to see to it that my sister was arrested for bad driving or some such (She had stopped quickly enough to miss his car, but was rear ended by an elderly woman behind her.) Fortunately a local cop had been parked nearby and saw the whole thing, so the guy’s lies didn’t fly.

        Maybe, in this situation, the woman just couldn’t bear the thought she was responsible for her own husband’s death and isn’t think clearly, or the lawyer cooked up the idea of going after Williams. But in either case, it was a shitty thing to do.

  19. detritus says:

    I hope Venus is ok. She was hit, hard. She does have access to the best of the best, but that’s a lot of force. And thank god there wasn’t anyone in her passenger seat.

  20. Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

    I saw this the other day and its very very clear that the other car was speeding and there is no way that a collision could have been avoided, given the speed other other woman was driving at.

    Am sad for the other woman’s loss but it was her fault and I wonder if she will drop the lawsuit or try and get some money out of Venus since her insurance now won’t.

    • SoulSPA says:

      If a full investigation or if the case gets to trial shows that Venus is not guilty, she should not pay a dime!!! Should she pay, the precedent would be extremely dangerous. I think that US jurisprudence takes into account past verdicts too, not only legislation per se. Innocent drivers involved in car accidents would be forced to pay damages. No way she should pay if she was innocent!!!

  21. Char says:

    I was also taught that when you are the one to hit another vehicle, you are at fault. Usually for something like “following too closely” (hit from behind, of course) or something similar. Especially since she t-boned Venus, I couldn’t understand how it was Venus’s fault. After I saw the video it made less sense, & it seemed to me that the woman didn’t even slow down, so I have to wonder if she was paying attention. Like others have mentioned, I was taught defensive driving, which includes always looking both ways through an intersection because you never know when another driver isn’t paying attention or is trying to beat the light. I think them suing her may be two-fold, it makes the wife feel less guilty about causing an accident that resulted in the death of her husband, because she can blame someone else, but I also think that some of it is who they crashed into. They realized it was someone who had money, & someone, wether the family or the lawyer, decided to capitalize on that.

  22. Lisa says:

    ITA based on the description of what happened I was like, WTF? People get stranded in the middle of intersections after their light turns red all the time here in Houston because of traffic back-ups. If youre the one who has green you LOOK and make sure the intersection is cleared of the people who might be still in there, you know? My heart went out to her when she started crying at that presser and to be honest now I’m mad at the ambulance chaser who filed on her. Hope they get nothing, it was their fault. That’s what no-fault insurance is for, to pay their bills, Venus doesn’t have to.

  23. Louise177 says:

    The most surprising thing about the video is that the plaintiff was going full speed but the other drivers in her lane were going much slower. It’s possible she slowed down for the red light then accelerated when it went green but it didn’t seem like it’s possible to regain that much speed. It’s also possible that she didn’t see Venus but the other cars should have been an indication that something was wrong. The lawsuit was probably a money grab since a wealthy celebrity was involved. They probably still would have sued if the other driver was an average Joe but since it’s Venus they are probably trying for significantly more than funeral and medical expenses. The plaintiffs probably shot themselves in the foot for a quick settlement by blaming Venus and claiming she was speeding and ran a red light.

    • abby says:

      In all fairness, the initial police report named Venus “at fault” and according to the media had witnesses stating Venus ran a red light. That was on the police.

      IMO it’s the attorney for the family who should have advised his clients responsibly.

      Initial police reports can change, especially since they were reportedly actively seeking video evidence and the investigation was ongoing. The final report may not support their case, and we see it is turning in that direction. The lawyer should have waited until the investigation was complete – police investigation and video analysis, car data analysis, etc.
      If there were any statues of limitations he was concerned about he could have filed his paperwork discreetly and moved on rather than running to TMZ and creating this circus, in which he (and the Barsons) now looks foolish and greedy.

      Instead, their attorney filed the lawsuit with a startling quickness and started making the TV and tabloid rounds that is so transparently a money-grab. Like, they hoped to use the build up to Wimbledon and the spotlight likely on Williams to pressure her into settling or something.

      I feel for the family, I do.
      But this strategy is likely going to backfire. And that’s unfortunate because I honestly think Venus was willing to work with them had they handled it differently.

  24. Jamie42 says:

    Who hasn’t been in Venus’s situation of being forced to stop in an intersection you entered lawfully because someone makes a turn in front of you? Then all you can do is get out of the intersection.
    This video also makes very clear that the traffic was fairly light and that the car that hit her seemed to be going very fast, compared to the other cars.

    • Tia says:

      And being in the intersection on red is not in itself actually illegal. The charge is generally something along the lines of ‘entering when the exit isn’t clear’. If it is clear but someone else’s negligent driving means it takes longer to get out than a competent driver could expect, that competent driver is not at fault.

  25. Jan says:

    I’m blaming the greedy lawyer manipulating a grieving widow on this one. What person wants to believe their careless driving caused the death of a loved one like their husband? So I’m sure when the lawyer said Hey this wasn’t your fault, it’s hers, the widow wanted to believe it! I have had dealings with these ambulance chasers and they totally prey on people’s emotions!! They are just the lowest.

  26. I was a witness of an accident a few years back literally just like this except thankfully no one was hurt. The lane beside mine was a turn left/straight lane the lady had to yield first to turn. As she was in the intersection someone else ran the light and t-boned her. I had to stay behind and give a statement. Luckily I was taught in drivers ed to always watch the intersections because even if you’re the best driver others aren’t. I would have gotten hit too if I had of proceeded forward. I knew he was going to run the light because of his speed so I waited and boom it happened. It’s always so surreal when you are involved or witness a car crash. They’re scary and you pray no one is hurt.

  27. Kristina says:

    I thought that lawsuit was filed ridiculously fast also, and I’m an attorney. Plus people lie and exaggerate about traffic accidents all the time. I used to live in Annapolis and I was sitting at a green light waiting to turn left, when I saw the two lanes of traffic coming toward me. I could literally see the accident in the process of unfolding and thinking to myself, “those idiots are absolutely going to hit that guy.” For the record, there was a single driver in the far right lane and an SUV in the lane next to him with several people in it, and instead of checking their blind spot, they just turned into his lane and crashed into him. I remember thinking to myself, “it’s one guy not at fault versus a car full of people completely at fault, no way are they going to take the blame.” So I started to head home, but then thought better of it and turned around and went back. And sure enough, the car full of people at fault were totally blaming the guy not at fault. So I went up to the cop and told him exactly what I saw and he was like, “thanks, I had a feeling these guys were full of shit but there were no other witnesses!” I’m so glad I went back!

    No one wants to take accountability anymore. And as much as I feel for the widow, I highly doubt she would have filed a lawsuit if the other driver had just been some average Joe. I understand anger and grief, but that’s just opportunistic and shitty. And filing the suit so quickly?? You have up to a year, and in some jurisdictions up to 2 or 3 years to file a wrongful death suit. Filing a wrongful death suit before the ground has even settled on your husband’s grave??? And I LOATHE cops that release definitive statements before all the facts are in. How about just saying, “the investigation is ongoing” ?? How hard is that? And as for the police apologizing for making a premature assumption? Puleeze!!!! I may respect the police, but they have the worst track record of anyone when it comes to apologizing or admitting their own mistakes.

  28. Sarah says:

    I lived in Palm Beach Gardens until earlier this year. Drivers there are legitimately the worst I have ever seen in the United States. People run red lights all of the time, enter interesections on green KNOWING traffic is backed up and they won’t be able to get through but just DGAF. I learned FAST to look brakebefore entering a major (read: wide) intersection on green because people there are insane. Basically, I’m saying this old lady was completely reckless and should be ashamed for suing.

  29. BJ says:

    Oh well maybe Venus can forget all the comments calling her a killer,murderer,entitled celebrity,selfish,etc…#sarcasm
    Because most people won’t see this story.(I don’t mean on this site,I mean in general

  30. Bobbysue says:

    I wish the entire accident was just a bad dream and had never occurred. My sincere condolences to all parties involved and affected. That being said, I’m glad for Venus not to have to carry that albacore around her neck for the rest of her life.

  31. Patty says:

    I saw this Friday and posted in the other thread. This whole thing has been handled poorly by everyone except Venus and her team. I hope Venus continues to fight this tooth and nail; this was a blantant money grab by the person who actually caused a fatal accident.

  32. Izzy says:

    I posted this last week, and I will say it again: They cited her claiming Venus was in the intersection when state law says you are not supposed to “block the box.” Ever. It’s why she was cited at fault.

    That would have been the ONLY thing Venus did wrong. But the other driver CLEARLY failed to yield. It was a relatively clear day, she should have seen Venus in the intersection, literally every driver in Florida has at some point been caught in an intersection at least once because there is no lag time between lights changing, and about a half dozen other things the other driver did including she was the one who sailed through an intersection that wasn’t clear yet.

    • LadyT says:

      Plus no seatbelt. There’s no way this is a fatality had her passenger been wearing one.

      • T-Rasha says:

        Wait, the man that died had no seatbelt on. Again, Jesus! I couldn’t figure out how he died when Venus was only driving 5mph. It’s becoming more clear.
        Wear your dam seat belts people.

      • Hannah Lee says:

        Wow, just wow! So sad, because there are a dozen+ little things that woman and her husband could have done differently that day, and he probably would be still here.

        Yes, wear your seatbelts people. You do not want to be loose in a car during a collision and you definitely don’t want to be loose in a car when the airbags go off.

    • Veronica says:

      She’s also likely driving above the speed limit given how fast the other cars are driving. It’s a really shitty situation either way. Even if the woman did screw up, what a price to pay.

      • Tia says:

        I suspect she was deemed not at fault because the video shows her exit from the junction was clear when she entered – there is no legal requirement to assume someone will make an illegal turn in front of you causing you to brake to avoid an accident, the legal requirement us not to enter if your exit isn’t clear and the video shows it was (she can’t even have been in a slow moving queue of traffic since there was room to turn in front of her).

  33. perplexed says:

    Maybe the widow is having a hard time dealing with the fact she may have caused the accident, and thought she could convince herself that Venus caused the accident.

  34. Martina says:

    Don’t know about the US but in the UK the driver is a responsible for making sure all passengers are wearing seatbelts. If the guy had been wearing his seatbelt he may well still be alive. Certainly any damages (if appropriate) should be reduced because of self- contributory negligence. And would his wife, the driver, be liable to prosecution because he wasn’t?

    • laur says:

      You’re only responsible if the passenger is under a certain age in the UK (16 or 18 maybe, I can’t remember). After that they’re responsible for themselves. No idea if it’s the same in the US.

      That said, I’m really uncomfortable that this is even being discussed on a gossip website. A man’s death shouldn’t be the subject of gossip. Venus shouldn’t be the subject of gossip about it either or be asked about it in a press conference about her tennis… I hope all involved can heal and move on in time.

  35. LadyT says:

    Irrelevant but interesting- IF Venus had gunned it thru the intersection just because her light was green (like the other lady did) she would have broadsided the car that took a left in front of her illegally. (It should have yielded to HER)
    She’s more deserving of a safe driving award than a lawsuit.

    • Tia says:

      It looks to me like her exit from the junction was clear when she entered but the car that turned in front of her meant she had to brake to avoid an accident.

      If that’s the case, she’s not legally liable – the rule is don’t enter if your exit isn’t clear and it looks like it was. That’s probably why they’ve been able to formally announce she’s not at fault.

  36. Lori says:

    Seems to me like Venus wasnt at fault at all. Seems like she is the only one that wasnt fault really. Going through what she is going through now is horrible, I feel for her. Of course for the woman who lost her husband as well- but she should have waited and honked, this is assuming Venus’s car wasnt invisible.

  37. Felicia says:

    The people who T-boned Venus are probably very very lucky to have not left her with a debilitating injury which would have ended her career.

  38. Cinderella says:

    I am so glad there was footage that showed what really happened. People were so quick to jump all over Venus, but I never thought for one second she was at fault. The other driver had no business maintaining that level of speed toward a busy intersection that just had a red light. Their lawyer can stop with the money-grabbing.