The Palm Beach Gardens Police Department has studied new video evidence and overturned its original conclusion. Williams, therefore, is no longer blamed for the accident. The reversal poses important legal and reputational consequences for the five-time Wimbledon champion.
While some aspects of the accident remain in dispute, the general account of the accident remain the same as widely published in the last weeks. Williams was blamed for running a red light and for violating the Hyundai Accent’s right of way. Williams’ driving supposedly made impossible for Barson, the affected driver, to avoid hitting her. The assignment of blame onto Williams was based at least in part on witness statements and their recollection of whether Williams ran a red light.
The estate of Mr. Barson sued Williams for wrongful death in a Palm Beach County circuit court. The lawsuit pursues indeterminate monetary damages not only for Mr. Barson’s death but also for the pain and suffering that he and his wife experienced ensuing the accident.
The Police Department amended its view of the incident, according to a statement released last Friday. It says that “new evidence”, specifically surveillance video, shows that Williams drove through a green light and only slowed in the intersection to avoid a collision with a Nissan Altima that turned in front of Williams’ SUV. The video shows Williams’ SUV hit quite hard in the intersection.
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This has a significant legal impact. For beginners, it indicates that Williams obeyed the law. This conclusion eliminates the possibility that Williams will face a traffic citation. The original police account implied that Williams could face traffic citations for careless driving, violation of a traffic control device and violation of right of way. There were also potential criminal charges.While the investigation continues and it’s possible that additional new evidence comes up, thus complicating how law enforcement view the incident, Williams now appears to be safe.
Williams is also in a way stronger position to defend against the wrongful death lawsuit. It demands an evidence showing that Williams was negligent and engaged in unreasonable conduct. The fact that Williams seemingly drove in compliance with the law indicates that she drove reasonably, not unreasonably. Even more so, if Williams have been seriously hurt, she would be in a position to consider bringing a negligence lawsuit against Linda Barson., as even at a green light a driver normally shouldn’t proceed into an intersection when other cars are blocking.
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Williams has handled the incident in respectful way. Instead of blaming Linda Barson or objecting her own innocence, Williams has simply expressed her condolences and prayers to the Barson family. She admitted to be “completely speechless” about the incident in an emotional July 3 press conference at Wimbledon. Although some public have disparaged her a “murderer” and “killer” or worse, Williams appears sincerely regretful about the death of another human being. However, the remote possibility any of the companies Williams endorses terminating its sponsorship deal with her on grounds of violating a morals clause is virtually zero.
For her part, the 37-year-old Williams continues to advance at Wimbledon. On Thursday, Williams will take on Johanna Konta in the semi-finals.