NASCAR star Tony Stewart will in fact go before a grand jury for his involvement in an August race track accident that proved fatal for fellow driver Kevin Ward, Jr. This according to a new report citing the District Attorney that will bring Stewart before a grand jury.
Sporting News NASCAR writer Bob Pockrass tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that Tony Stewart will be taken before a grand jury for his role in the collision that killed Kevin Ward, Jr., in August of this year at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York. According to Pockrass, the Ontario County District Attorney’s office said that Stewart’s case will be taken before a grand jury “in the near future.’
Tony Stewart case will be taken to a grand jury “in near future” according to Ontario County DA office.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) September 16, 2014
As WISHTV notes, it is unclear when the Stewart grand jury proceedings will begin. Also unclear are what witnesses will testify in the proceedings and what evidence will be presented against Stewart.
The District Attorney’s decision comes following a nearly month-long probe by the Ontario County Sheriff’s office. Stewart was not charged with any wrongdoing while that office investigated the incident.
The actions of both Stewart and Ward on August 9 drew considerable criticism from observers both within and outside the world of NASCAR. In the course of a sprint car race, Stewart apparently caused Ward to run into a wall, and the 20-year-old Ward exited his car to confront Stewart on the track, even as the race proceeded.
Video of the horrific accident shows multiple drivers swerving to avoid the incensed Ward, but some believe that when Stewart neared Ward, Stewart tried to spook the young driver by driving very close by him. Stewart, by some accounts, gunned his engine as he approached Ward, and the back end of Stewart’s car kicked out and clipped Ward.
Ward was immediately struck, dragged around the wheel well of Stewart’s car, and thrown about 25 feet. The young racer was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.
Since the accident, debate has raged on over whether or not Stewart could have avoided Ward. Stewart sat out three races following the accident, partly out of respect for Ward and his family, partly to cope with the accident in his own way. Stewart has said that the crash that killed Ward “will affect my life forever.”