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Venus Williams Reaches Settlement With Family Of Florida Car Crash Victim

Jerome Barson died two weeks after the collision, prompting his family to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the tennis star.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Venus Williams and the family of a man who died from injuries sustained during a car crash with the famed athlete have reached a settlement in their ongoing legal battle.

Following the June 2017 crash which led to 78-year-old Jerome Barson’s death, the family of the deceased filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams. She responded by claiming that Barson was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, claims which the family denied, according to People.

Both sides reached a settlement in the lawsuit last week, according to court documents obtained by BBC News. Details regarding the agreement have yet to be released, however.

Williams was crossing an intersection near her home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on June 9 when a car being driven by Jerome Barson’s wife, Linda Barson, crashed into Williams’ vehicle, CNN reports. Williams briefly stopped in the intersection to avoid colliding with another car but had continued driving through the intersection when her vehicle was hit by Barson’s, according to a police report obtained by the outlet.

Jerome Barson, who was riding alongside Linda Barson in the passenger seat at the time of the crash, died in the hospital two weeks later from his injuries, Rolling Stone reports.

His family then filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams, prompting Williams’ claim that the Barsons had failed to wear seatbelts during the crash, and had neglected to make sure that their vehicle was properly repaired and safe to be driven, according to People.

The family’s attorney refuted those allegations; the couple's car was new and had passed inspection, and investigators were in possession of proof that the Barsons were both wearing seatbelts during the crash, attorney Michael Steinger said, as quoted by People.

After initially proclaiming that Williams was at fault for the crash, police later cleared both Williams and the Barsons of any wrongdoing, USA Today reports.

Following Barson’s death, Williams shared her condolences with the family on social media.

“I am devastated and heartbroken by this accident,” she wrote on Facebook. “My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.”

Williams also became visibly emotional when asked about the crash during the Wimbledon tennis tournament last July, CNN reports.

“There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating and — yeah,” Williams said, according to the outlet. “I’m completely speechless.”

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]