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Judge: Wrongful Death Suit Against Tony Steward May Proceed

A U.S. district judge ruled Tuesday that a jury should decide whether or not Tony Stewart should be held liable for the death of Kevin Ward Jr. For those who may not have seen the incident, back in August of 2014, Stewart and Ward tangled in an incident that ended with Ward’s car crashed and unable to continue the race. A disgusted Ward exited his car and approached the car of Stewart as he came by under caution a lap later. Stewart slapped the throttle and kicked the rear of his car out toward Ward, who was stuck by the rear tire and later died of injuries suffered in the incident.

Stewart has been adamant that he intended only to startle Ward and that it was never his intention to strike him with his car. The three time NASCAR series champion was cleared of criminal charges after the grand jury declined to indict him. However, a civil case will move forward seeking to find Stewart liable for the wrongful death of Kevin Ward Jr. Stewart had petitioned the court to have the case against him dismissed based on Ward signing waivers to race, but the judge threw out those papers saying “To be sure, both Ward Jr. and Stewart were experienced participants in that activity, and by all accounts both men spent enormous amounts of time and money in pursuit of their passion. But simply spending time and money on a particular hobby does not transmogrify it into a professional endeavor.”

Key factors in assessing any potential settlement include pre-impact terror and pain and suffering. Those decisions will be made by a jury since there is reasonably clear video evidence of the crash itself and the confrontation that followed. It’s not our place to try to decide either way, but if you’ve seen the video, we would like to hear your thoughts on the matter. We’re not going to link to it out of respect for Ward’s family, but it is still floating around out there. It’s not exactly graphic, but it may not be easy for everybody to watch, so you’ve been warned if you go out in search of it. We’ll keep you abreast of any further revelations in the case as in proceeds.

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