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09-24-2014, 07:21 PM #1
Tony Stewart will not be charged in the death of Kevin Ward Jr
Prosecutors announced Wednesday that a grand jury had decided against bringing criminal charges against three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart in the August death of a driver at a sprint car race in upstate New York.
Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo said the victim, Kevin Ward Jr., was under the influence of marijuana the night of the accident "enough to impair judgment." Tantillo also said two videos examined by investigators showed "no aberrational driving by Tony Stewart."
The decision came almost seven weeks after Stewart's car struck and killed Ward during a dirt track race Aug. 9.
Stewart, the brash and popular NASCAR driver known as "Smoke," spent three weeks in seclusion following what he called a tragic accident before quietly returning to the Sprint Cup circuit. One of the biggest stars in the garage, Stewart has 48 Cup wins in 546 career starts but is winless this year and did not make the championship Chase field.
"This has been the toughest and most emotional experience of my life, and it will stay with me forever," Stewart said in a prepared statement. "While much of the attention has been on me, it's important to remember a young man lost his life. Kevin Ward Jr.'s family and friends will always be in my thoughts and prayers."
Tantillo could have determined the case on his own but last week said he would take it to a grand jury. Experts said it would have been difficult to prove criminal intent, but the prosecutor asked the grand jury to consider charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
"There were not 12 votes to either charge," he said.
"There are no winners in tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Kevin Ward Jr. family and Tony Stewart as they all cope with this tragic incident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park," NASCAR said in a statement. "This has been a difficult time for everyone involved and we have respected the local authorities responsible for reviewing this case."
Sheriff Philip Povero spent weeks investigating, several times saying investigators did not have evidence to suggest Stewart meant to harm the other driver at the track in tiny Canandaigua. Ward had spun while racing alongside Stewart, and then the 20-year-old climbed out of his car and walked down the track, waving his arms in an apparent attempt to confront the 43-year-old NASCAR veteran.
Authorities said the first car to pass Ward had to swerve to avoid hitting him. The front of Stewart's car appeared to clear Ward, but Ward was struck by the right rear tire and hurtled through the air. He died of blunt force trauma. His father later told a newspaper there was "no reason" for the death given Stewart's skills and experience.
Ward's family, in a statement to ESPN on Wednesday, said: "Our son got out of his car during caution, while the race was suspended. All other vehicles were reducing speed and not accelerating except for Tony Stewart, who intentionally tried to intimidate Kevin by accelerating and sliding his car towards him, causing this tragedy.
"The focus should be on the actions of Tony Stewart and not Kevin. The matter is not at rest and we will pursue all remedies, in fairness to Kevin."
09-24-2014, 07:43 PM #2
Love the delusional statement from the Ward family, forget the fact that he was impaired by an illegal substance running into traffic.
Last edited by 14smoke2x; 09-24-2014 at 07:45 PM.Kyle Larson SuperCollector
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09-25-2014, 03:34 PM #3
I just hope tony can put this behind him and get his head in the game. i'm sure knowing ward was high don't make the accident any easier on tony. and it sounds like the ward family isn't satisfied. and this most likely isn't the end of it.Collecting Tony Stewartand Stewart Haas RacingMy Traders, Wants And PC located here at SCF in the Inventory page