A Palm Beach County judge granted an emergency protective order for Venus Williams, temporarily keeping her car out of the hands of inspectors. Williams is the target of a wrongful death lawsuit following a car crash that killed 78-year-old Jerome Barsons. Lawyers for Barsons’ wife Linda wanted their experts to look at and download information from Williams’ car on Wednesday, resulting in the emergency motion and order.
The two vehicles collided on June 9 in the middle of an intersection. Williams claims that she had a green light when she entered the intersection, but then the light changed and she was stuck in the middle, due to traffic in front of her. When she moved forward again, she couldn’t see the Barsons’ car driving towards her. Police determined that while Williams was technically at fault, she should not be charged with any offenses. The lawsuit against Williams accuses her of colliding with the Barsons as a result of her own negligence.
The court’s decision did not go into its reasoning, but the motion that was filed by her attorney, Michael Steinger, said that there was “a concern regarding the loss or destruction of evidence” if Barsons’ inspectors were able to do this on their own, as “unintentional loss of data” is known to happen when a car’s information is downloaded. Instead, the motion sought to keep this from happening until all parties and their experts can be present to examine both vehicles, which are being held at the same place in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The court scheduled a hearing on the matter for Friday, and the order is in effect until then. At that point, the judge could set protocol for when and how the inspections can be conducted.
Williams is currently in England, as the tennis superstar is competing in Wimbledon. During a press conference earlier this week, a reporter asked the tennis superstar about the fatal accident. Williams described it as “devastating” and appeared to tear up, without saying much else.
[Image via ESPN screengrab]