Body camera footage released by police in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., an officer tells tennis star Venus Williams that she is at fault in a car crash, but that he is not going to cite her. "You just got stuck in a bad situation there," he says.
The footage reflects what police originally said: that Williams was at fault in the June 9 crash that led to the death of a passenger in the other vehicle. Police later rescinded their statement, after reviewing footage from a nearby security camera.The body camera footage shows police interviewing witnesses after the crash. Jerome Barson, 78, the passenger in the second vehicle, is seen in the video saying, "I'm a little confused." He died two weeks later. His widow, Linda, now is suing Williams.
Police at first declared Williams at fault in the June 9 crash outside the entrance to BallenIsles Country Club, the gated community where she owns a home. They later said she lawfully entered the intersection. The crash remains under investigation.
Williams has told police she had a green light when she left Steeplechase, a community on the south side of Northlake Boulevard, in her 2010 Toyota Sequoia and had to stop in the middle of Northlake for traffic. By the time Williams thought it was safe to drive, she said, the light for westbound traffic on Northlake turned to green from red.
Linda Barson, the 68-year-old driver of a Hyundai Accent, said Williams cut in front of her and Barson couldn't avoid hitting her. Williams told police she never saw Barson coming. Video released by police July 7 shows a third car, a Nissan Altima, leaving BallenIsles. The Altima turned left in front of Williams, forcing her to stop to avoid a crash. Police still are trying to identify the Altima driver nearly two months after the wreck.
In one of four 911 calls police also released Thursday, a motorist says, "These people need help." At the end of the call, she tells the dispatcher she's 95 percent sure that "one of the people in this accident is one of the Serena sisters... the Williams. And unfortunately she was at fault." Serena Williams, another star in women's tennis, is Venus Williamsâ sister and also lives in Palm Beach Gardens.
The earliest of the videos released Thursday shows Officer Tim Connors walking up to the crash and finding Williams out of her car. Venus Williams was told by a police officer she was at fault for a deadly crash in Florida June 9, according to police video released Thursday. She was not cited.