Tennis player Venus Williams posted publicly Friday night for the first time since she was found at fault in a car crash that resulted in the death of a 78-year-old man.
“I am devastated and heartbroken by this accident,” Williams said in a Facebook post. “My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.”
Barson died June 9 when the Hyundai Accent sedan his wife, Linda, was driving collided with Williams’ Toyota SUV in an intersection in Palm Beach Gardens. He suffered injuries to the head and spine and was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where he died on June 22.
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Williams was found at fault for violating the sedan’s right of way in a police report on the accident, which was first made public Thursday.
An attorney for Williams released a statement that day saying the athlete expressed “her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one.”
Barson’s wife and daughter, Audrey Gassner-Dunayer, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday asking for a jury trial in Palm Beach County court. The complaint, which says Linda Barson also sustained a broken right arm and wrist in the crash, asks for Jerome Barson’s lost earnings from the time of the accident until his death, the loss of his future earnings and damages against Williams.
Williams, who was scheduled to play in the major Wimbledon tournament starting Monday, will still compete, her publicist confirmed, according to Tennis Magazine.
Williams has not been cited or charged in the crash. Palm Beach Gardens police say the crash remains under investigation.