Tennis great Venus Williams has agreed to turn over her cell phone records to attorneys representing a family who is suing her in connection with a June traffic accident that claimed the life of a 78-year-old man.
In a brief court hearing on Tuesday, lawyers for Williams and those representing the family of Jerome Barson told Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Cymonie Rowe that the 37-year-old athlete had agreed to turn over records of calls from noon to 2:30 p.m. on June 9, the day of the crash, said attorney F. Malcolm Cunningham Jr., who represents Williams.
The records will be redacted in court documents so the phone numbers would be kept from public view, Cunningham said. He described the request as routine.
“It’s very typical — very standard — for this kind of litigation or any kind of litigation, actually,” he said.
Attorney Michael Steinger filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Williams on behalf of the Barson family. In court papers, Steinger and his associates said the phone records could help show whether Williams was distracted at the time of the mid-day crash. They are also seeking Williams’ phone and any other electronic devices she had with her during the June 9 accident. That request is still pending.
Palm Beach Gardens police say Williams was at the wheel of her SUV in the middle of the intersection at Northlake Boulevard and BallenIsles Drive when the light turned red. Linda Barson, who was driving a Hyundai Accent, drove through the green light, smashing into the side of Williams’ vehicle as Williams continued through the intersection, they said. Williams, who lives in the nearby BallenIsles Country Club, told investigators she did not see Barson’s car.
Jerome Barson, a passenger in the vehicle, was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center and died there on June 22. Williams was not injured in the crash.
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