The parents of Kevin Ward, Jr. are suing Tony Stewart for the wrongful death of their son last year at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. The suit was filed Friday, August 7, 2015.
If you don’t remember what happened, let me refresh your memory. Stewart and Ward, Jr. made contact causing Ward, Jr. to to crash into the wall of the dirt track. Ward, Jr. got out of his car onto the track in what appeared to be an attempt to confront Stewart. As he came back around the track, Stewart’s car bobbled and slid up the track, causing the right rear tire to hit Ward, Jr., who was pronounced dead on arrival at Thomas Hospital at 11:15pm that night. Stewart pulled out of the race at Watkins Glen the next day and the police investigated, but didn’t handle the incident in a “criminal manner”. The autopsy revealed death by extreme blunt force trauma and toxicology revealed enough marijuana in Ward, Jr.’s system to impair his judgement. The police submitted their investigation to the DA, who gave it over to a grand jury for review. The grand jury cleared Stewart of any wrongdoing after going over the evidence (video and witness accounts included). WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
The lawyer representing the Ward family – Mark Lanier, of The Lanier Law Firm – said in a statement “Kevin Ward would be alive today if not for the reckless and dangerous actions of Tony Stewart, who eventually will have to answer for he did. This past year has been extremely difficult for Kevin’s mother and father, and they’re trying to cope with their unimaginable loss”. Ward’s parents, in a joint statement Friday said, “Our hope is that this lawsuit will hold Tony Stewart responsible for killing our son and show him there are real consequences when someone recklessly takes another person’s life”. They are also requesting a trial by jury.
There has been no comment yet from Stewart or his lawyer, James Voyles.
Guys, I gotta say…Stewart’s already been cleared by a grand jury who reviewed all the evidence. This actually hurts me to write, being that I was in NASCAR and had many conversations with various people (Tony Stewart not included, sadly), including Zippy.
My heart hurts for both Tony Stewart and the Ward family. I guess I just wish they’d stop trying to paint Stewart as a killer or play the blame game. Dirt tracks are slippery, bumpy messes. Kevin Ward, Jr. got out of his car. Two clear and simple facts.
My personal hope is that everyone can begin to move on from this in some way, without Stewart being found guilty. Accidents happen, sometimes with tragic consequences.
I’ll keep you updated as I get more information.