Friday, September 24, 2021

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Ontario County Sheriff Phiip C. Povero: Stewart investigation complete

On Thursday, the Ontario County Sheriff’s office in New York released a statement, stating that the investigation is complete and the evidence has been handed over to the district attorney’s office.

“The Ontario County Office of Sheriff has completed its investigation into the death of Kevin A. Ward, Jr., which occurred August 9, 2014, at the Canandaigua, New York, Motorsports Park,” the statement from Sheriff Philip C. Povero reads. “The entire thorough investigation, including a forensic video enhancement recently received from the New York State Police Laboratory in Albany, has been submitted to the Office of the Ontario County District for review. The District Attorney’s Office, which has been meeting throughout the investigative process with members of the Sheriff’s Office, will make a statement late next week advising what action will be taken regarding the investigation.”

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

Tony Stewart took a couple weeks off, but returned behind the wheel at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He fell out of the race early at Atlanta Motor Speedway due to a tire issue and contact with the wall, before posting a mid-pack finish at Richmond International Speedway last week. Upon returning to the track at Atlanta, Stewart read a statement to the media.

“This has been one of the toughest tragedies I’ve ever had to deal with both professionally and personally. This is something that will definitely affect my life forever. This is a sadness and a pain that I hope no one ever has to experience in their life,” Stewart read. “With that being said, I know that the pain and the mourning that Kevin Ward’s family and friends are experiencing is something that I can’t possibly imagine. I want Kevin’s father, Kevin Sr., and his mother Pam, and his sisters Christi, Kayla, Katelyn, to know that every day I’m thinking about them and praying for them.

“The racing community is a large family, as you guys know. Everyone’s saddened with this tragedy. I want to thank all my friends and family for their support through this tough emotional time, and the support from the NASCAR community, my partners, all of our employees, it’s been overwhelming.

“I’ve taken the last couple weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his family, and also to cope with the accident in my own way. It’s given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted. I miss my team, my teammates. I miss being back in the racecar. I think being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time.

“I also understand that all of you have many questions and want a lot of answers, however I need to respect the ongoing investigation process and cannot answer and address the questions at this time. Emotionally I’m not sure if I could answer them anyway. We’re here to race this weekend, and I appreciate your respect. There will be a day when I can sit here and answer the questions. Thank you.”

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