GRIEVING VETERAN: Veteran Nascar driver, Tony Stewart is still reeling after he killed fellow driver Kevin Ward Jnr in a crash on August 9 in New York. Image: Derek Hamilton
NEW YORK, New York State - The case of a fatal dirt-track incident involving three-times Nascar champion Tony Stewart and a rookie competitor in New York in August 2014 will be referred to a grand jury, authorities said on Tuesday (September 16).
Stewart struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward during a non-Nascar sprint car race on August 9 2014 at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.
Ontario County district attorney Michael Tantillo said: "I have made the determination that it would be appropriate to submit the evidence to a grand jury, for their determination as to what action should be taken in this matter."
HORROR NASCAR CRASH
Stewart skipped the next three Nascar races following the incident on a dimly lit track about an hour's drive west of Syracuse. He returned to Nascar on August 31 to a standing ovation at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
VIDEO: Tony Stewart crash report
Stewart said: "I look forward to this process being completed, and I will continue to provide my full cooperation."
Stewart and Ward collided cars during the race and the collision sent Ward into a retaining wall. During the ensuing caution period, Ward jumped out of his car in an apparent attempt to confront Stewart, who remained in the race.
When Stewart came around on the next lap, Ward, while in the middle of the track, pointed at Stewart. As Stewart approached Ward, his car appeared to swerve, striking Ward and throwing him some 15m.
Ward was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
NEW RULES FOR DRIVERS
The grainy video of the incident went viral, as Stewart, who had often driven in non-Nascar races because of his love for competition, went into seclusion for the next three weeks.
Nascar said in a statement: "Our thoughts continue to be with all who have been impacted by this tragedy. We will monitor this process and stay in close contact with (Stewart's team) Stewart-Haas Racing."
Tantillo said he intended to present the case to a grand jury "in the near future."
Following the incident, Nascar introduced new rules forbidding drivers from getting out of their cars during caution periods until permitted to by a track safety official.
Calls to Kevin and Pam Ward, the parents of Kevin Ward Jnr, were not immediately returned.