Kurt Busch will not face criminal charges for his role in an alleged assault of former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last September at Dover International Speedway.
After months of investigation, the Delaware Department of Justice issued the following statement on Thursday morning:
"The Delaware Department of Justice has carefully reviewed the complaint made of an alleged act of domestic violence involving Kurt Busch in Dover on Sept. 26, 2014, which was reported to the Dover Police Department on Nov. 5, 2014 and investigated. After a thorough consideration of all of the available information about the case, it is determined that the admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime during the Sept. 26 incident. Likelihood of meeting that high burden of proof is the standard for prosecutors in bringing a case. For this reason, the Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges in this case."
Busch, through his public relations representative, issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
"I am grateful that the prosecutors in Delaware listened, carefully considered the evidence, and after a thorough investigation decided to not file criminal charges against me," Busch said. "I wish to thank my family, friends, fans, and race team who stood by me throughout this nightmare with their unwavering support. Thanks also goes to my legal team for making sure that the truth got out and was fully provided to the prosecutors. As I have said from the beginning, I did not commit domestic abuse. I look forward to being back in racing as soon as possible and moving on with my life."
Last month, Kent County (Delaware) Court Commissioner David Jones ruled in favor of Driscoll’s request for a no-contact order, which stipulates that for the next year Busch must stay 100 yards away from Driscoll except for "at NASCAR races and related events where closer proximity is required" for Busch to "perform his duties as a driver or sponsored athlete." Also Busch can’t buy or possess firearms or ammunition for the next year and must be evaluated for "mental health problems related to anger control and impulse control."
The ruling stems from a disagreement Busch and Driscoll had that took place on Sept. 26, 2014, two nights before the fall NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway.
Driscoll alleged that after an argument, Busch smashed her face three times into a bedroom wall inside Busch’s motorcoach. Busch has emphatically denied the charges, saying he cupped her face and told her she had to leave, and that in the process the back of her head "tapped" the wall of his bedroom.
The case first went to family court, where Driscoll sought and was granted a protective order from Busch.
Busch was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR on Feb. 20 after Jones’ ruling in favor of Driscoll.
David Higdon, NASCAR’s vice president, integrated marketing communications, told FOXSports.com on Monday that Busch agreed late last week to NASCAR’s terms and conditions in seeking reinstatement.
Higdon would not disclose specifics on what those terms and conditions are, nor would he say if Busch could return to the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet this year.
Also, Higdon said Busch would work with an independent expert who will help determine whether Busch should be reinstated.
"Ultimately, we will expect a report back from the expert that we’ve asked to institute the program, in terms of when and if he’s recommending a reinstatement," said Higdon. "To be clear … there are other things in our terms and conditions that kind of go outside the realm of the expert, so it would have to meet our overall (terms and conditions)."
Asked if there was a timetable for concluding the reinstatement process, Higdon said, "Nope. And that was by design."
Jim Liguori, a local attorney for Busch in Delaware, said the driver was thankful to be cleared.
"All along, he knew he was going to be exonerated," Liguori told the Associated Press. "The Department of Justice really did the right thing after considered review.
"She absolutely tried to destroy him in the press, or tried to," Liguori added, referring to Driscoll. "But the truth wins out, and the truth is its own defense."
Thursday afternoon, Driscoll issued a statement of her own.
"While I respect the process, I am disappointed that full justice was not served here. My family and I take a measure of solace in the Order of Protection From Abuse granted by commissioner Jones, who ruled my account of the facts was the most credible," Driscoll’s statement read.
"At great risk to my personal and professional reputation, I have spoken candidly, at length, and on the record, to a variety of outlets in an effort to correct the distortions and sensationalism that have unfortunately marked the coverage of this painful time in my family’s life. I would urge anyone covering this case to stick to the well-established facts. Giving further air to baseless and discredited accusations about me does a disservice to the public and reduces a serious matter for law enforcement into tabloid gossip.
"In all future developments in this case, I will continue to stand up for my integrity and for justice. But for now, I am focused on my family, my friends, and my important and gratifying work with the Armed Forces Foundation."