A judge granted the Barson family's request to subpoena Venus Williams' phone records, to determine whether the tennis star was driving distracted before the crash that killed Jerome Barson back in June.
Barson was in the passenger seat when his wife, Linda, drove their Toyota Accent into Williams' Sequoia SUV in Palm Beach, Florida. The accident caused 78-year-old Barson head trauma and internal bleeding. He was rushed to the hospital, but he passed away later in the summer.
Official police reports state the Williams was at fault in the accident. Though they refused to release video evidence captured on traffic cameras, police stated that Williams sped through a red light travelling well over the speed limit. Authorities also believe she was either texting or talking on the phone while driving.
Williams and her lawyer, Malcolm Cunningham, have a very different view of that day's events. According to Cunningham, Williams had entered an intersection on a green light, but stopped to wait for a Nissan Altima to complete its turn. That's when Barson allegedly hit Williams' car.
Williams stated that Barson's death was "an unfortunate accident," but would not concede to the wrongful death lawsuit. While the Barson estate has been seeking access to Williams' phone records since the case was opened, this is the first time they've been granted an order for a subpoena.
Meanwhile, the Barson family has accused the local police of impeding the progress of the case, despite the fact that their narratives match almost perfectly.
"There are video cameras that were placed at guard houses where Ms. Williams lives," the Barsons' lawyer said shortly after the accident, "and the police have refused, after multiple requests, to turn those over to us and we would like to see a visual portrayal of the accident on those videos… They have impounded all the vehicles and have impeded our ability to conduct our investigation and to be able to move forward."