Williams escapes court charge over collision

LOS ANGELES • Tennis star Venus Williams will not be charged in a fatal two-car crash in June that killed a passenger in the other car, according to American media quoting the Florida police.

Police concluded neither driver was at fault and no charges would be filed in the collision which took place at a busy intersection in Palm Beach Gardens, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper reported on Wednesday.

"Based upon this investigation and relevant Florida state statutes, no charges will be filed in this case," according to an 18-page traffic homicide investigation released by Palm Beach Gardens police.

Police initially said the seven-time Major singles champion was to blame for failing to yield the right of way. But by July, police said video evidence had surfaced showing Williams entering the intersection lawfully, and that a car not involved in the collision forced her to stop in the intersection.

A Hyundai sedan, driven by Linda Barson, ran into the passenger side of Williams' SUV in the intersection when the light turned green. Former world No. 1 Williams and Barson were not injured but Barson's husband, Jerome, 78, died 13 days after the accident.

"The unknown dark-coloured vehicle... started a sequence of events resulting in (Barson) crashing into (Williams)," the police report said.

Barson's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Williams.

Calls to attorneys for both parties were not immediately returned on Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile in Paris, Marion Bartoli - who announced that she would be returning to the WTA Tour next year - has said that her mystery illness which caused her to lose 20kg in a matter of months motivated her to make her comeback.

"If what happened to me in 2016 hadn't happened, I don't think I would have had that strong feeling of wanting to come back to the court," the 33-year-old Frenchwoman said.

"From then on, I swore that if one day I was healthy again, I wanted to try to relive what I had been lucky enough to live three years before when I won the (Wimbledon) tournament.

"What saved me at that time was tennis, by hanging on to the great moments that I lived on court - that's what kept me alive."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2017, with the headline 'Williams escapes court charge over collision'. Print Edition | Subscribe