Kevin Ward Jr.’s aunt: Tony Stewart ‘totally forgot what caution means’
The aunt of deceased sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. has issued an open letter criticizing Tony Stewart for his role in the incident that claimed her nephew’s life on Aug. 9.
In the open letter, read by Wendi Ward over the phone to USA Today, the sister of Kevin Ward Sr. echoed earlier sentiments from the parents of Kevin Ward Jr. that Stewart could have avoided the 20-year-old driver, who died of blunt force trauma after being struck by Stewart’s sprint car at Canadaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park.
Wendi Ward also said the Ward family doesn’t believe her nephew, whom an autopsy found to have marijuana in his system, was driving under the influence or impaired when he got out of his car and walked down the track, gesturing angrily at Stewart, before the fatal collision.
"Tell me how a man the size of Kevin can make a sprint car turn to the right on impact," the letter read to USA Today said. "Tell me how a lap before (the incident) everything was fine, but the following lap was poor lighting. Tell me how a NASCAR star totally forgot what caution means.
"Maybe he should get a different headset so he is able to hear on the radio that the car in caution is up high, so go low. Or was he low until he rounded the corner and saw Kevin Jr. standing up for himself?"
Stewart, who has expressed condolences to the Ward family, won’t face criminal charges after a grand jury ruled this past week that there was no basis for charging Stewart for any crimes in relation to Ward’s death.
A couple days after the announcement of his exoneration by Ontario County (N.Y.) District Attorney Michael Tantillo, Stewart told The Associated Press, that "I know 100 percent in my heart and in my mind that I did not do anything wrong. This was 100 percent an accident."
Stewart, who has yet to answer specific questions related to the Aug. 9 incident, will hold a press conference with members of the media on Monday morning at Stewart-Haas Racing.
For a full transcript of Wendi Ward’s open letter, as read to USA Today, click here.
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