Tony Stewart will not face criminal charges in fatal dirt track crash
ONTARIO COUNTY, N.Y. (Sept. 24, 2014) – Tony Stewart will not face charges after August’s fatal dirt track crash.
Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo made the announcement Wednesday afternoon after revealing the results of a grand jury investigation.
Tantillo said two dozen witnesses were interviewed during the investigation, including drivers, race track workers, medical personnel and police. Members of the grand jury reviewed photo and video evidence before coming to the decision that there was no basis for charges. The case was “no-billed” by the grand jury, Tantillo said.
Stewart’s car hit and killed Kevin Ward Jr. on Aug. 9, 2014, at Canandaigua Motor Speedway. Ward, 20, had gotten out of his car to confront the three-time NASCAR champion during the race.
Tantillo said there was no doubt that Ward’s family was disappointed in the results of the investigation, adding that they expressed appreciation for the investigative efforts in the case.
He would not say if Stewart testified in the case, citing the confidential nature of grand jury proceedings. Tantillo also said Ward had marijuana in his system and suggested it was enough to impair his judgment.
Tantillo decided to hand the case over to a grand jury after reviewing evidence. The grand jury included 23 people randomly selected among several different databases. Tantillo said he gave the case to a grand jury due to the diverse amount of opinions regarding the crash and what happened.
Stewart sat out three NASCAR races in the wake of Ward’s death. He has since returned to racing.
Stewart posted the following statement via Facebook:
“This has been the toughest and most emotional experience of my life, and it will stay with me forever. I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve received and continue to receive.
“I respect everything the District Attorney and Sheriff’s Office did to thoroughly investigate this tragic accident. While the process was long and emotionally difficult, it allowed for all the facts of the accident to be identified and known.
“While much of the attention has been on me, it’s important to remember a young man lost his life. Kevin Ward Jr.’s family and friends will always be in my thoughts and prayers.”