Even at Wimbledon, Venus Williams can’t escape the scandal of her being blamed for a car accident that killed an elderly man. When asked about the crash, Venus broke down and left her press conference early!
Venus Williams, 37, had just defeated Elise Mertens, 21, in the first round of Wimbledon on July 3 when she, at a post-game press conference, fielded questions from reporters, according to the Washington Post. Though she first avoided any questions regarding her involvement in a June 9 car crash that killed a 78-year-old man named Jerome Barson, she finally addressed the scandal. “There are no words to describe, like, how devastating and, yeah,” she said, as tears started to well up in her eyes. “Yeah, I am completely speechless. It’s just — yeah, I mean, I’m just…”
At this point, Venus was far too emotional to finish the question. She fell silent and tried her best to stop breaking down. The presser’s moderator said that Venus was unable to answer any more questions about the accident, and he requested that the reporters “give her a minute” so that she could pull herself together. Venus needed more than just a moment, it seems. “Maybe I should go?” she asked, and ended the press conference then and there. She left, and took several minutes to compose herself before ultimately returning to finish the press conference.
After this break, Venus took questions about her match with Elise and her sister, Serena Williams, 35, who is missing Wimbledon due to her pregnancy. Venus did not take another question about the car crash, or speak on how Jerome’s family has filed a lawsuit against her. Venus kept it professional, steering the conversation strictly to the tennis court. The closest anyone got to a statement on the lawsuit, according to the Washington Post, was when she said, “I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, that’s all I can say about it. That’s what I’ve learned.”
Police reportedly found Venus to be “at fault” for the accident in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida that killed Jerome. Venus allegedly “darted” her car into a busy intersection, right in front of the car driven by Jerome’s wife, Linda Barson, 68. Linda claims she had no time to stop her car and she ultimately t-boned Venus’s vehicle. Venus claimed that she was attempting to make it through the intersection but got caught up in traffic, forcing her to slow down in that busy part of the road. Jerome reportedly suffered a fractured spine and internal bleeding in this crash. His condition deteriorated while in the ICU, and he passed away two weeks after this accident. When Venus finally spoke on this accident, she said she was “devastated” by what happened.
Our thoughts continue to go out to the Barson family and to all those who were involved in this accident.