An Ontario County (N.Y.) spokeswoman said Thursday morning there was nothing new to report as far as the investigation by the county sheriff’s office in the Aug. 9 accident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. On Aug. 12, Sheriff Philip Povero said the investigation was ongoing and was expected to continue for at least another two weeks or more.
Now, 16 days later, neither the department nor the district attorney has released any timetable to announce its findings. It is possible the sheriff's office is receiving some direction from the district attorney’s office as far as what the DA needs to know before determining whether to pursue charges through a grand jury or whether there is no probable cause for any criminal charges.
In the two days following the tragedy, Povero stated that no facts had emerged that would result in probable cause for charges to be filed against Stewart.
“We (will) conduct a thorough review of all of the relevant facts involving this tragic accident," Povero said Aug. 12.
Ward and Stewart were battling for position in an Empire Super Sprints event when Ward wrecked near the wall between turns 1 and 2. Ward got out of his car, approached on foot the cars that were running under caution, and was gesturing wildly at Stewart. He was then struck by Stewart’s car and pronounced dead 45 minutes later upon arrival at a nearby hospital.
Investigators have at least two videos of the accident (including the one that was posted online by a witness) and have spent the last two weeks talking to witnesses, experts in sprint-car racing and trying to reconstruct the accident. They will try to determine what Stewart saw — the wing above the cars could limit vision on the right side and the lighting of the track and Ward’s dark firesuit also could have been factors — and whether any of his actions would be considered uncharacteristic of what someone would expect from a sprint-car driver.
There is no real deadline, legally, for the investigation to be concluded. The statute of limitations on a criminal negligence charge would be five years.
Stewart is expected to announce a decision Thursday on whether he will race this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He has missed the last three Sprint Cup races since the accident. Sporting News