The Ontario County Sheriff’s Department continues their investigation of Kevin Ward Jr.’s death this week. Ward died on Saturday after being struck by Tony Stewart’s car during a dirt track race.
Sheriff Phillip Povero told media members this week that his department would be relatively tight-lipped during the investigation, which he said would take “at least” two weeks to complete.
Though Povero declined to answer questions from reporters, he did drop one very significant line about the investigation’s early findings.
"At this time, there are no facts that exist that support any criminal behavior or conduct or any probable cause of a criminal act in this investigation," Povero said, as quoted by USA Today.
Despite Povero’s words, Stewart isn’t in the clear yet. Legal expert Corey Rayburn Yung of the Kansas University School of Law says prosecutors could still decide a manslaughter charge is appropriate. Under New York law, a manslaughter charge is warranted when someone “recklessly causes the death of another person.”
If investigators find that Stewart acted recklessly, by, say, losing his temper and trying to scare Ward with a near pass, a charge may be in line.
“The question over whether someone was reckless is a factual one, and one a prosecutor might let a jury decide,’’ Yung told the Boston Globe.
Sheriff Povero said he and his department currently have two videos of the accident. They’ve asked anyone with additional footage of the crash to come forward.