NASCAR 3-time champion Tony Stewart on Saturday night hit and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint race at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Ontario County, New York.
The 25-lap race was 14 laps in when Stewart’s vehicle hit Ward’s, causing it to spin out of the track onto the wall. An enraged Ward then came out to yell at Stewart, walking into the track as he did so.
Then Stewart sped by once again … and that was when he fatally hit Ward, flinging him on the track a feet away. An ambulance quickly took him to the nearby Thompson health hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Ontario County Sheriff’s Department has said that there are no charges against Stewart yet, and the case is being treated as an on-track accident, not a homicide.
‘This is right now being investigated as an on-track crash and I don’t want to infer that there are criminal charges pending,’ Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero in a press conference. ‘When the investigation is completed, we will sit down with the district attorney and review it. But I want to make it very clear: there are no criminal charges pending at this time.’
Meanwhile, Stewart announced that he will not be racing at the Watkins Glen International today because of the incident. His team had earlier said he would race despite the accident because it was ‘the right thing to do.’
In a statement released on Sunday, Stewart said, ‘There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen.’
‘My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy,’ he added.
Kevin Ward was 20 years old.
(Warning: Some people may find this disturbing)