On Thursday, March 5th, the Delaware Attorney General’s office announced that they will not charge Kurt Busch with regards to the accusations made by Patricia Driscoll. Driscoll alleged that Busch committed domestic abuse against her, putting his hands on her neck and slamming her head against the wall.
The department issued the folliwing statement: “The Delaware Department of Justice has carefully reviewed the complaint made of an alleged act of domestic violence involving Kurt Busch in Dover on September 26, 2014, which was reported to the Dover Police Department on Nov. 5, 2014 and investigated. After a thorough consideration of all of the available information about the case, it is determined that the admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime during the September 26th incident. Likelihood of meeting that high burden of proof is the standard for prosecutors in bringing a case. For this reason, the Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges in this case.”
Busch, who remains suspended by NASCAR, released a statement on Thursday afternoon, grateful of the decision.
“I am grateful that the prosecutors in Delaware listened, carefully considered the evidence, and after a thorough investigation decided to not file criminal charges against me,” Busch said. “I wish to thank my family, friends, fans, and race team who stood by me throughout this nightmare with their unwavering support. Thanks also goes to my legal team for making sure that the truth got out and was fully provided to the prosecutors. As I have said from the beginning, I did not commit domestic abuse. I look forward to being back in racing as soon as possible and moving on with my life.”
Driscoll also released a statement stating, “While I respect the process, I am disappointed that full justice was not served here. My family and I take a measure of solace in the Order of Protection From Abuse granted by commissioner Jones, who ruled my account of the facts was the most credible. At great risk to my personal and professional reputation, I have spoken candidly, at length, and on the record, to a variety of outlets in an effort to correct the distortions and sensationalism that have unfortunately marked the coverage of this painful time in my family’s life. I would urge anyone covering this case to stick to the well-established facts. Giving further air to baseless and discredited accusations about me does a disservice to the public and reduces a serious matter for law enforcement into tabloid gossip. In all future developments in this case, I will continue to stand up for my integrity and for justice. But for now, I am focused on my family, my friends, and my important and gratifying work with the Armed Forces Foundation.”
Her attorney Mark Dycio added that he feels the decision doesn’t change the facts that have been presented to date.
“The decision from the Delaware Attorney General does not deny that the assault occurred, and indicates only that the state’s attorneys lack confidence in their ability to get a criminal conviction,” Dycio said in a statement. “It changes nothing about the established facts of the case.Mr. Busch testified in open court that he squeezed Patricia’s face, and admitted to police that he slammed her head against the wall in the process. Given that these admissions establish an assault took place, and that police recommended Mr. Busch be prosecuted, it seems impossible that the attorney general’s office made this decision on burden of proof grounds.It would be unfortunate, and a terrible precedent for victims of abuse, if the prospect of inviting a media circus fueled by Mr. Busch’s wealth, notoriety, and hostile PR team in any way swayed this decision.We are comforted at least in the knowledge that the judge who did hear the evidence found clear reason to believe Busch committed the assault, and granted the protective order to Patricia and her family.”
Even with the decision, Busch will remain suspended from NASCAR moving forward.
“NASCAR is aware of the Delaware Department of Justice announcement today regarding driver Kurt Busch. As we disclosed Monday, he has accepted the terms and conditions of a reinstatement program and is actively participating in the program. Kurt Busch’s eligibility for reinstatement will continue to be governed by that program and the NASCAR Rule Book, though the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges certainly removes a significant impediment to his reinstatement.”
NASCAR announced on Friday, February 20th that they had indefinitely suspended Kurt Busch under Section 12.1.a: Actions detrimental to stock car racing and Section 12.8: Behavioral Penalty of the 2015 NASCAR Rulebook. Busch appealed the suspension to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel and National Motorsports Appeal Officer, with both appeals being denied.
Upon handing down the suspension, NASCAR said the decision was made “following the release today of a supplemental disposition setting forth the findings and conclusions that formed the basis for the Family Court of the State of Delaware’s decision on Monday to issue an Order of Protection from Abuse against him”.
On Monday February 16th, a Kent County Family Court Judge announced that Patricia Driscoll was granted her order for Kurt Busch to stay away from her. The order is good until 2016. Commissioner David Jones released his written conclusion on Friday February 20th, stating that he believed Busch committed an act of domestic violence.
The Court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that, on September 26, 2014, Respondent [Busch] committed an act of domestic violence against Petitioner [Driscoll] by manually strangling her by placing his left hand on her throat, while placing his right hand on her chin and face and smashing her head into the wall of his motor home,” commissioner David Jones wrote in his findings and conclusions. “[Busch’s] version of the events is implausible, does not make sense and is unlikely to be true given the totality of the other evidence admitted at trial.”
Jones also added further that, “The assertion that [Busch] would be chastened from assaulting [Driscoll] for fear of the possibility of physical injury is further discredited, in the Court’s view, by the fact that [Busch] makes his living risking his life on an almost daily basis by aggressively driving a race car at speeds often approaching 200 miles per hour in close contact with others driving in the same manner, at the same speed.”
According to the court order, Busch must stay 100 yards away from Driscoll, her home and workplace. He also is not allowed to phone her, e-mail her, or have any communication by any means. Though when it comes to NASCAR races where they both will be, he has to “maintain the maximum “practicable” distance from her and not attempt to contact her”. Busch will also have to be evaluated for mental health problems related to anger and impulse control; he also isn’t allowed to purchase or possess any firearms or ammunition.
At the time of the suspension, Chevrolet released a statement, disassociating themselves with Busch. The DA office does not change that, per Chevrolet’s Jim Campbell.
“Our relationship with Kurt Busch remains unchanged. He remains suspended, and we will continue to monitor all aspects of this situation.”
Stewart Haas Racing’s Executive Vice President Joe Custer released a statement, saying, “We appreciate the thoroughness of the Dover Police Department’s investigation into the allegations made against Kurt Busch and respect the time the Attorney General put into his decision. They are the experts in these matters and the decision not to pursue charges is an important one. We’re currently working with NASCAR to understand how this impacts Kurt’s reinstatement process.”