Latest on Tony Stewart Accident investigation


The Ontario County Sheriff issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:
"The investigation into the death of Kevin Ward, Jr., of Lewis County, N.Y., is ongoing and is expected to continue for at least another two weeks or more. Investigators continue to seek witnesses, gather evidence, and develop the racetrack crash reconstruction. However, it would be inappropriate to discuss details or findings of the investigation with the media at this time. I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation as the Ontario County Office of Sheriff continues this investigation and for having patience as we conduct a thorough review of all of the relevant facts involving this tragic accident. When the investigation is completed, we will meet with members of the Ontario County District Attorney's Office and discuss with them all aspects of the investigation into the crash that occurred on August 9, 2014 at the Canandaigua Speedway. At that time, more information relating to any determinations that have been made may be released. In closing, on behalf of the Ontario County Office of Sheriff, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family of Kevin Ward, Jr."

Stewart could still face legal consequences: Stewart could be charged with second-degree manslaughter under New York law if prosecutors believe he "recklessly caused the death of another person," with negligent homicide another possibility, according to criminal law professor Corey Rayburn Yung of the Kansas University School of Law. Athletes in competition often do things that would get the average person arrested – think two boxers in the ring, or a base runner sliding into second with his spikes high. But sometimes an act is so far outside the bounds of accepted sporting behavior that it becomes a crime, as former major leaguer Jose Offerman learned when he was charged with felony assault for rushing the mound – swinging a bat – after he was hit by a pitch in a minor league game. So Stewart would not expect to be charged for the car-on-car bump that sent Ward spinning into the wall. But if, for example, he were to tell police that he saw Ward on the track and tried to shower him with dirt or otherwise send him a message, a first-degree manslaughter charge could be a possibility, Yung said. Even if he is cleared by prosecutors, though, Stewart could face a civil suit. Although the standard of proof is lower than in a criminal case, the civil court would also consider Ward's state of mind at the time of the accident and whether he was also negligent in venturing into racing traffic on a dark track in a dark suit. But Stewart would also have to weigh the damage to his image and career – with his own team, tracks and millions in endorsements – making a quick settlement likely. Associated Press

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