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Crime

Venus Williams Files Emergency Protective Order Against Victim’s Family in Fatal Car Crash

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The lawyers for Venus Williams obtained an emergency protective order in the civil lawsuit filed against her for the fatal car crash police allege was her fault, PEOPLE confirms.

The order was filed and obtained on Wednesday, after the victim’s family requested to inspect and download data from the vehicle in which the victim, 78-year-old Jerome Barson, was a passenger. The vehicle and Williams’ SUV collided on June 9.

A Palm Beach County judge approved the order, delaying any collection of data by the victim’s family, according to the order, which was obtained by PEOPLE.

On June 9, Jerome Barson, 78, was sitting in the passenger seat of his Hyundai Accent while his wife Linda drove. According to Linda Barson’s account, she was driving through an intersection on a green light when Williams’ SUV, which was driving perpendicular, cut in front of Barson, causing Barson to T-bone Williams, a police report obtained by PEOPLE states.

However, in the same police report, Williams told police she had entered the intersection on a green light but, because of heavy traffic, became held up in the intersection as the light turned to red.

The police report showed Williams, 37, was driving about 5 mph when the crash occurred. The report alleges Williams “is at fault for violating the right of way of” the other driver.

Barson Family

Barson was taken to a local hospital and admitted into the ICU, where he died two weeks later, on June 22.

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The order comes days after Barson’s daughter, Audrey Gassner-Dunayer, filed a wrongful death action against the tennis champion. The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department is conducting a traffic homicide investigation into the crash, the family’s attorney, Michael Steinger, tells PEOPLE. The investigation is standard procedure in Florida.

Police confirmed they are investigating the crash but would not comment on the nature of the investigation.

According to Steinger, the family hopes gathering as much information as possible will answer their questions and give them closure.

“It’s a 35 year marriage, the love of her life, and he ultimately ended up passing away on Linda Barson’s 68th birthday,” Steinger tells PEOPLE. “This has been devastating to their family.”

Jerome and Linda Barson with their family
Barson Family

In a statement to PEOPLE, Williams’ attorney, Malcolm Cunningham said, “Ms. Williams entered the intersection on a green light. The police report estimates that Ms. Williams was traveling at 5 miles per hour when Mrs. Barson crashed into her. Authorities did not issue Ms. Williams with any citations or traffic violations. This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one.”

In a previous interview with PEOPLE, Cunningham said, “We believe that she lawfully and legally entered the intersection as she did so on a green light, so that’s our position. But that still doesn’t take away from her expression of condolences to that family.”

Linda Barson was taken to a local hospital where she received treatment for multiple broken bones. Williams did not appear to have any injuries, Cunningham tells PEOPLE. Both vehicles were towed.

Source: Wimbledon.com

Last week Williams became emotional and briefly left a post-match Wimbledon press conference after she was asked about the crash. The 37-year-old broke down in tears as she struggled to find the words to respond to a reporter’s question about the deadly crash.

“There are really no words to describe, like, how devastating,” she said before burying her chin in her hand. “I am completely speechless and it’s just — yeah, I just.”

Barson’s family has requested privacy as they are “overwhelmed with grief,” Steinger tells PEOPLE.