Wednesday, September 24, 2014
No Charges for Tony Stewart in Death of Kevin Ward
The incident occurred at the small track after Stewart and Ward got tangled up during a race. Ward spun out and after the incident, got out of his car and appeared on video to approach Stewart's car, still in motion at a fairly high rate of speed.
Ward died from the impact.
Stewart released a statement saying; "This has been the toughest and most emotional experience of my life and it will stay with me forever. 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."
County D.A Michael Tantillo had asked the Grand Jury to consider charges of second degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. They could not come to a unanimous decision on either.
Most agreed Tantillo would have had a difficult time proving criminal intent in the incident and issue further complicated when he said Ward had been under the influence of marijuana that night, "enough to impair judgement".
Stewart took a 3-week leave of absence from racing after the incident. He still could be Civilly charged in the incident, but that has yet to happen.
NASCAR released a statement:
"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. This has been a difficult time for everyone involved and we have respected the local authorities responsible for reviewing this case."
As did Stewart:
“This has been the toughest and most emotional experience of my life, and it will stay with me forever. I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve received and continue to receive. “I respect everything the District Attorney and Sheriff’s Office did to thoroughly investigate this tragic accident. While the process was long and emotionally difficult, it allowed for all the facts of the accident to be identified and known. “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.”