Race Weekend Central

Tony Stewart / Kevin Ward, Jr. Case Headed to Grand Jury

On Tuesday Sept. 16, the Ontario County, NY District Attorney’s Office released a statement with regards to the Kevin Ward, Jr. / Tony Stewart case, stating it will go to a grand jury.

“Over the past several weeks I have reviewed with members of the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department their investigation, as it progressed, in the Tony Stewart matter,” Michael Tantillo, Ontario County District Attorney, said. “Recently that office concluded its work and forwarded the complete case file to me. Upon my review of all of the information contained in the entire investigation, I have made the determination that it would be appropriate to submit the evidence to a grand jury, for their determination as to what action should be taken in this matter. Accordingly, the evidence developed in the investigation will be presented to an Ontario County grand jury in the near future.

“As grand jury proceedings in New York State are strictly confidential by law, I am unable to state when the matter will be scheduled, other than to state that I intend to present the matter in the near future. Similarly, because of the confidential nature of these proceedings, I cannot state who will be called as witnesses, or what any witness’s expected testimony will be. When the presentation has been completed and a determination has been made, I will advise the public and the media at that time of the results.”

During a sprint car event on Aug. 9 at Canandaigua (Ny.) Motorsports Park, Ward was spun out by Stewart. He then got out of his car to display his displeasure, at which point Stewart’s car would make contact with Ward, sending him sliding across the track. Ward was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. 

Tony Stewart took three weeks off, but returned behind the wheel at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Aug. 31. This past weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, the three-time Sprint Cup Series Champion posted an 18th place finish. Stewart-Haas Racing has confirmed that Stewart will be at New Hampshire this weekend and Stewart released the following statement.

“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.”

About the author

Residing in Canada, she freelances for a number of racing publications, from SpeedwayMedia.com to On Pit Road while covering local short tracks up in Ontario.

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New York Law and grand juries are generally called for Mafia and large syndicate crimes that are very complex, it is hard to understand how a case of involuntary suicide, should go to a grand jury but it looks like this is purely political if the DA had enough that he thought he would get a conviction he’d take it to court, here’s the politics send it to the grand jury if the grand jury convicts, the news media will go absolutely ballistic with joy, the racing community can’t be mad at him, if the grand jury fails to convicts the news media can’t be mad at him, after all the grand jury made all the decisions all he really did was weasel out of his responsibilities I am personally very sorry for Kevin’s family there are no words that can express the Tragedy the family and Tony Stewart are feeling but this decision to go to a grand jury is just a weasel move.

afterthought has anyone considered what a Pandora’s box this can open up, one car bumps another, someone gets hurt here comes a lawsuit, there’s a wonderful word that lawyers love, its called precedent this will not only hurt the racing community it will hurt small towns that own racetracks it will hurt large business that will not want the exposure of lawsuits, they are opening a Pandora’s box and though lawyers love it, and it makes no difference whether Tony is convicted or not it has started the precedent.

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