NASCAR Driver Tony Stewart was involved in a crash while driving in a sprint car race on Saturday in Watkins Glenn, New York that led to the death of fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr.
Stewart’s car clipped Ward’s, causing him to spin out which caused officials to issue warning flags. The flag requires drivers to slow down. Ward then got out of the car to confront Stewart.
As Ward approached Stewart’s car, it fishtailed hitting Ward, throwing him under the car and over 20 feet into a violent roll where Ward laid motionless. EMS rushed Ward to the Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The two drivers had a feisty rivalry and there are different witness accounts of how the tragic event occurred. Stewart is known to be confrontational, having his run-ins with other NASCAR drivers.
The key question is, does Stewart get charged and what will he be charged with?
The DA will be submitting evidence to a grand jury. The key evidence will be eyewitness reports and videotape evidence. The eyewitness reports are conflicting and unless damaging eyewitness accounts surface, it probably won’t be enough to implicate Stewart.
The videotape evidence is still being analyzed. The initial review of the footage has yet to show negligence. What can probably hurt Stewart would be expert testimony from fellow racecar drivers and officials.
The Ontario County Sheriff’s department has stated that Stewart will not be facing charges at least for the time being.
In analyzing the footage, experts have to discern whether:
Stewart hit the gas as he approached Ward
Stewart intentionally swerved toward Ward
Did he intentionally target him in some way
If Stewart were to be implicated, the likely charge would be vehicular homicide, which is a felony in the State of New York and carries a sentence of 15 years in prison. For this to happen intent would have to be proven and lets not forget that Ward was walking on a racetrack which is likely to have many agreeing that it is not the safest thing to do.