Former NASCAR champion Tony Stewart struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. with his car on Saturday night during a sprint car race at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in N.Y.
After Ward's car got pushed into the track fence by Stewart's car, Ward got out of his racing car and walked onto the dirt track to confront Stewart who was still in his car, noted AFP (video below).
Ward was struck by Stewart's car and dragged along the speedway an estimated 50 feet. Ward was reportedly dead on arrival at a local hospital.
Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, originally announced via his team manager Greg Zipadelli, "We're business as usual today."
However, after outrage grew over the crash video, Zipadelli issued a different statement from Stewart: “There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”
Police have questioned Stewart about the incident, but no charges have been filed.
"This is right now being investigated as an on-track crash and I don't want to infer that there are criminal charges pending," Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero told the Associated Press. "When the investigation is completed, we will sit down with the district attorney and review it. But I want to make it very clear: there are no criminal charges pending at this time."
Tyler Graves, a friend of Ward's and race car driver who witnessed the incident, told Sporting News, "I know Tony could see him. I know how you can see out of these cars. When Tony got close to him, he hit the throttle. When you hit a throttle on a sprint car, the car sets sideways. It set sideways, the right rear tire hit Kevin, Kevin was sucked underneath and was stuck under it for a second or two and then it threw him about 50 yards."
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO