No Criminal Charges for Stewart in Death of Kevin Ward, Jr.
Today, Ontario County (New York) District Attorney Michael Tantillo said that the grand jury has determined not to pursue criminal charges against Tony Stewart after his involvement in the death of fellow driver Kevin Ward, Jr. during an on-track incident August 9.
Tantillo said in a press conference that the grand jury heard testimony from more than two dozen witnesses and viewed photos and video evidence before ultimately determining that there was “no basis to charge Stewart with a crime.”
Perhaps the most surprising revelation was that Ward was under the influence of marijuana at the time of his death, which Tantillo says may have been “enough to impair his judgment.”
The investigation stems from the August 9 death of 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr., who exited his sprint car after being spun into a wall by Stewart during a race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.
Ward walked out into the middle of the track and gestured in Stewart’s direction. When Stewart came around the turn, he could be heard gunning his engine before his vehicle collided with Ward.
Ward was pronounced dead at F.F. Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua about 45 minutes later. The coroner’s report revealed the cause of death to be massive blunt force trauma.
Following the incident, Stewart missed three consecutive races and effectively disappeared until a brief August 29 presser in which he read a two-and-a-half-minute statement and took no questions. He has since returned to the track, participating in four races and finishing no better than 15th.