On August 9 at the Empire Super Sprints series race in Canandaigua, New York, Tony Stewart cut-off Kevin Ward Jr. and sent him crashing into the wall. Ward, who was only 20-years-old, got out of his car and waited for Stewart to pass back around as he walked on the track throwing his hands up. As Stewart passed by, Ward was clipped by Stewart’s back tire, throwing him into the air and hitting his head.
Ward died from massive blunt force trauma.
Speculation led the public to believe that Stewart may have run into Ward on purpose. But after video footage of the race and a toxicology report showing that Ward was high on marijuana at the time, the grand jury found no evidence of a criminal act.
Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo said:
“Those videos were examined in detail. They were enhanced. They were run through programs that allow the frames to be isolated. They were run at 75, 50 and 25 percent speed. They were overlaid with grids and data and they were pretty important piece of the evidence here. The videos did not demonstrate any aberrational driving by Tony Stewart until the point of impact with Kevin Ward, at which his vehicle veered to the right, up the track as a result of the collision. Prior to that his course was pretty straight.”
Stewart could still face a civil suit, such as a wrongful death lawsuit.