FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A police officer told Venus Williams she most likely caused a crash that fatally injured an elderly man last month but did not cite her, saying it appeared the actions of a third driver left her in a bad spot, a newly released body camera video shows.
The video from the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., police shows Williams speaking calmly to officers minutes after the June 9 crash. The video also shows that the other vehicle’s passenger, the 78-year-old retired teacher Jerome Barson, was conscious, but bleeding and confused. It was later determined he had sustained a broken spine and internal injuries. He died June 22. His wife, Linda Barson, who was driving their car, told officers she had a broken arm.
Security video released earlier showed Williams was driving straight through 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 sedan plowed into Williams’s sport utility vehicle.
The body camera video released late Thursday showed Williams, 37, listening intently as she sat in her S.U.V. as Officer David Dowling, the lead investigator, explained to her why he believed, after interviewing her and witnesses, that she was at fault but that he was not 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, who was dressed in a white tennis shirt and skirt and a blue baseball cap. Linda Barson, he said, had a green light “and had no way of knowing that you were going to come across.”
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