LONDON (CBSNewYork) — Venus Williams was overcome with emotion following her first-round victory at Wimbledon on Monday, but it had nothing to do with the result.
After her straight-sets victory over Elise Mertens, Williams was asked if she wanted to expand on her feelings following a car crash she was involved in last month that led to a 78-year-old Florida man’s death.
“Really no words to describe how devastating, and, yeah, I am completely speechless,” the seven-time Grand Slam winner said.
Crying, Williams at one point left the news conference. She, however, returned three minutes later and resumed answering questions about three minutes later.
On Friday, Williams wrote on Facebook: “I am devasted (sic) and heartbroken by this accident. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Jerome Barson and I continue to keep them in my thoughts and prayers.”
Police say Williams caused the crash. Barson was critically hurt in the two-car wreck on June 9 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He died 13 days later
According to police reports, Williams said she was traveling northbound trying to cross a six-lane roadway on a green light, when traffic forced her to stop in the middle of the intersection. At the same time, Barson’s 68-year-old wife, Linda Barson, was heading west. She told police her light had just changed from red to green, and as she entered the intersection, Williams cut in front of her. She said she was unable to stop and crashed into Williams’ SUV.
Williams said she didn’t see the Barsons’ car coming. She has not been charged with a crime.
“She probably will not be prosecuted anyway because the facts are just not clear enough for a prosecutor to say beyond a reasonable doubt she’s going to be found guilty of something that’s criminal,” said Florida trial attorney Chip Merlin.
There is a wrongful-death lawsuit being levied by the family. Linda Barson claims her husband’s death came “as a result of the negligence” on the tennis star’s part.