NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart finally knows his fate concerning the death of Kevin Ward Jr. The Ontario County Grand Jury of New York State has announced that it will not be seeking charges against the driver according to reports.
All evidence gathered during the investigation into the death of 20-year-old sprint car racer Kevin Ward Jr. was sent to the D.A.’s office and then onto to a Grand Jury.
District Attorney Michael Tantillo said he decided to present the case to a grand jury after he reviewed evidence collected by the sheriff's office. The Grand Jury found no evidence of criminal behavior.
Ward Jr. was killed at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York when he was struck by a dirt track car driven by Tony Stewart. The was race not related to any NASCAR event and the main sponsor which is Sprint. Recently the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office announced that it had completed the investigation and forwarded its report to the D.A.’s office. At the time Stewart released a statement that he would fully co-operate with the process.
“I respect the time and effort spent by both the Ontario County District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office in investigating this tragic accident. I look forward to this process being completed and I will continue to provide my full cooperation,” Stewart said in the statement. At the time of this article no new statement from Stewart or his team had been released.
The New York state Grand Jury System is designed to determine if charges should be brought. According to USA Today it is not a system designed to prove guilt or innocence but only to determine if evidence substantiates the need for a trial.
According to a handbook provided to USA Today by New York's court system, the grand jury is designed to uphold laws "by indicting those individuals believed to have committed crimes and to protect the rights of others against unfounded accusations."
The Death of Ward
Kevin Ward Jr. was killed during a dirt track race on August 9, 2014 when a car driven by Stewart struck and killed him. Ward climbed out of his car following an on track incident with Stewart in which ended with Ward’s car wrecking into the wall. Ward then exited his car to confront Stewart as cars zipped past.
Ward was struck by Stewart’s car throwing the driver several feet into the air and down the track. He was quickly attended to by track emergency workers and transported to a local hospital where he died as a result of blunt force trauma.