The family of a young racing driver who was tragically killed during a sprint car race in 2014 has filed a response to NASCAR star, Tony Stewart‘s, recent court motion in their ongoing litigation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
According to a new report on ESPN.com, the family of Kevin Ward Jr. who filed the lawsuit against Stewart have issued a formal response to his request for a summary judgement – which would have sped up court proceedings and dodged the necessity of a full jury trial.
During the tragic incident, Stewart’s sprint car struck and killed 20-year-old Ward Jr. at an Empire Super Sprints race in New York State. The young driver had wrecked his vehicle before exiting the driver’s seat and walking toward the oncoming cars as they sped past him under a caution flag.
The Ward family fired back at Stewart’s summary judgment motion with a statement that clearly explains their position on the matter.
“Stewart confessed that he did not need to throttle his car to make it turn,” They expressed in the response. “Anticipating the impact, Ward Jr. put his hands up in a defensive position and desperately scrambled to get out of the way. … Based on the evidence and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, Stewart either intentionally hit Ward Jr. with his car or intended to execute a reckless maneuver in an effort to scare or humiliate Ward Jr.”
Contained within the original motion from Stewart was a verified scientific analysis that reconstructed the crash and determined that he did not have enough time to react to the erratic movements of Ward Jr. The expert who provided the analysis concluded that if Stewart had intentionally driven toward Ward Jr. the point of contact would not have been the rear tire, but instead, another part of the car altogether.
The Ward family also filed their own crash analysis report which pinned Stewart’s actions against those of other drivers on the track at the time and claimed that he “intentionally caused his vehicle to move toward Mr. Ward by aggressively adding throttle input while counter steering through the turn”.
Stewart has been cleared of any wrongdoing in a criminal court after a grand jury ruled not to indict him on manslaughter charges. Following their decision, the Ward family filed a civil lawsuit in federal court.
In the current civil case, the family has not specified the amount of damages they are seeking, but Stewart’s motion asked the court to dismiss three of four claims brought forward by the Wards due to waivers that applied to racing and participation which were signed prior to the race. Nearly every part of his motion is being disputed or challenged by the Ward family.
Recently, a judge decided that Stewart will be fully responsible for any judgement against him after ruling his insurance company is not responsible due to his contract with them.
There is a mediation date set for April 18th, 2017.
Watch the video below where the heartbroken Ward family tells their side of their story.