An Ontario County, New York, grand jury has opted not to indict Tony Stewart in connection with the death of Kevin Ward Jr.
The 20-year-old driver, incensed that the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion had edged him into a wall, died after confronting Stewart on foot during a caution flag at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on August 9. The more experienced driver struck the driver-turned pedestrian on the dirt track during their sprint-car competition.
“After listening to and questioning all the witnesses, the grand jury has determined there is no basis to charge Tony Stewart with any crimes,” District Attorney Michael Tantillo explained.
After bowing out of three races, Stewart returned to NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series and skipped subsequent smaller-circuit races. Stewart ranks 26th in this year’s standings with two top-five finishes. He races this weekend at the AAA 400 at Dover.
Among the more shocking findings of the investigation was that a postmortem toxicology report indicated a significant amount of marijuana in the decedent’s system. Stewart did not undergo any screening for drug or alcohol impairment. District Attorney Tantillo noted that the drugs in Ward’s system were “enough to impair judgment.”