Au­topsy: Trauma in­juries from crash killed man

Cou­ple’s car col­lided with ve­hi­cle driven by Venus Wil­liams.

The Palm Beach Post - - LOCAL & BUSINESS - By Jane Mus­grave Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

WEST PALM BEACH — A 78-yearold Acreage man died from com­pli­ca­tions of mul­ti­ple “blunt trau­matic in­juries” af­ter the car his wife was driv­ing in June col­lided with an SUV driven by ten­nis great Venus Wil­liams in Palm Beach Gar­dens, the Palm Beach County med­i­cal ex­am­iner ruled.

In a re­port ob­tained Thurs­day by The Palm Beach Post, Dr. Michael Bell said Jerome Bar­son suf­fered nu­mer­ous ab­dom­i­nal in­juries in the crash on North­lake Boule­vard at Bal­lenIsles Drive. Sit­ting in the pas­sen­ger seat of the Hyundai Ac­cent driven by his wife, Linda, Bar­son’s spleen and other or­gans were lac­er­ated. He broke mul­ti­ple bones in his pelvis, chest and lower spine, the foren­sic pathol­o­gist said.

Rushed to St. Mary’s Med­i­cal Cen­ter, the re­tired ten­nis in­struc­tor with a his­tory of heart prob­lems un­der­went emer­gency ex­ploratory surgery fol­low­ing the June 9 crash, Bell said. He re­mained in crit­i­cal con­di­tion in the in­ten­sive care unit un­til June 22, when he died when his or­gans failed.

In the au­topsy re­port, a foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tor re­peated com­ments a Palm Beach Gar­dens po­lice of­fi­cer ini­tially made about the cause of the crash. With­out men­tion­ing the 37-year-old ten­nis star by name, in­ves­ti­ga­tor Julio Lan­guasco said of­fi­cer Kevin Fol­mar told him Wil­liams was at fault be­cause Linda Bar­son had the right of way.

Wil­liams hasn’t been charged in con­nec­tion with the crash, which re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Af­ter ini­tially blam­ing Wil­liams, Gar­dens po­lice re­versed course some­what af­ter re­view­ing video cap­tured by a nearby se­cu­rity cam­era. The video shows Wil­liams had a green light as she drove out of the Steeplechase com­mu­nity to cross North­lake Boule­vard to head into Bal­lenIsles, where she lives.

Stuck in the in­ter­sec­tion be­hind traf­fic, she con­tin­ued straight when the light turned red. By that time, Linda Bar­son, who was headed west on North­lake, had the green light. She hit the gas. Wil­liams told po­lice she didn’t see Bar­son’s car un­til the two ve­hi­cles col- lided.

At­tor­ney Kevin Yom­bor, who is rep­re­sent­ing Wil­liams in a civil law­suit Bar­son’s fam­ily filed against her, said he hadn’t yet reviewed the au­topsy re­port. At­tor­ney Ian Dun­can, who is rep­re­sent­ing the fam­ily in the suit pend­ing in Palm Beach County Cir­cuit Court, re­ferred ques­tions to a New York City pub­li­cist. She didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Venus Wil­liams is be­ing sued by Jerome Bar­son’s fam­ily.

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