INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A grand jury will decide whether NASCAR driver Tony Stewart will be charged in the death of a fellow driver at a sprint car race last month. I-Team 8 first broke the story.
The district attorney in Ontario County New York says after reviewing the evidence collected by the sheriffs department he is going to hand it over to a grand jury.
In August, Stewart’s car hit and killed Kevin Ward junior at a dirt track in upstate New York. The 20-year-old’s car spun out while racing alongside Stewart. Ward got out of the car and angrily walked down onto the track at Canandaigua Motorsports Park to confront Stewart when he was hit.
Ontario County New York district attorney Michael Tantillo could have determined there wasn’t enough evidence and dropped the case.
In a statement he says grand jury proceedings in New York are “strictly confidential” so he can’t disclose who will be called as witnesses or when the grand jury will hear the case. He says he will advise the media and public when the grand jury has a decision.
There are two key videos of the accident from two different angles. Last week, the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department said their “thorough” investigation included a “forensic video enhancement”.
Stewart spent three weeks in seclusion at his home in Columbus Indiana after the accident before returning to racing.
After it was announced Tuesday it would be handed to a grand jury, Stewart issued a statement saying he respects “the time and effort…investigating this tragic accident” – he looks forward to the process being completed and will cooperate. His attorney Jim Voyles, wouldn’t comment on an open case.
Full statement from Tony Stewart:
I respect the time and effort spent by both the Ontario County District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office in investigating this tragic accident. I look forward to this process being completed, and I will continue to provide my full cooperation.
Full statement from Michael Tantillo, Ontario County District Attorney:
Over the past several weeks I have reviewed with members of the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department their investigation, as it progressed, in the Tony Stewart matter. Recently that office concluded its work and forwarded the complete case file to me. Upon my review of all of the information contained in the entire investigation, 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. Accordingly, the evidence developed in the investigation will be presented to an Ontario County grand jury in the near future. As grand jury proceedings in New York State are strictly confidential by law, I am unable to state when the matter will be scheduled, other than to state that I intend to present the matter in the near future. Similarly, because of the confidential nature of these proceedings, I cannot state who will be called as witnesses, or what any witness’s expected testimony will be. When the presentation has been completed and a determination has been made, I will advise the public and the media at that time of the results.
According to True Speed Communication, Tony Stewart will race in this weekend’s race in New Hampshire.