NASCAR legend Tony Stewart has reached a settlement agreement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Kevin Ward, Jr., who was killed in August 2014 during a sprint car race on dirt at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York.
During the race, Ward spun and crashed after coming into contact with Stewart’s vehicle. He climbed out of the vehicle while the race was in caution and began to walk down the dimly lit track, apparently in an effort to confront Stewart. One car managed to swerve to avoid Ward, but Stewart’s back right tire struck Ward, who died from a blunt force trauma injury.
Stewart cleared of wrongdoing
More than two dozen witnesses, including other drivers and accident reconstruction experts, testified in front of a grand jury. After analyzing the evidence, the jury determined Stewart did not engage in any criminal wrongdoing. Authorities also determined Ward was under the influence of marijuana that evening, which could have impaired his judgment.
However, Ward’s family argued Stewart was still at fault for the collision, as he maneuvered his vehicle toward Ward while the race was under caution. A judge ruled the family would be able to proceed with the civil case against Stewart in December, and the Wards ended up getting an undisclosed settlement.
Stewart has since retired from racing and has stated numerous times that the incident emotionally drained him. He eventually returned to cup competition, but his last race was in 2016.