Report: Fan confronted by Tony Stewart was an off-duty sheriff’s deputy
The fan involved in Friday night’s altercation with NASCAR driver Tony Stewart at the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is reportedly a corporal with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.
According to a web story posted Saturday by the Tulsa World, Deputy Justin Green told the newspaper that the sheriff’s office is investigating the actions of Cpl. Kyle Hess, whom Green identified as the man whom Stewart went into the stands to confront during Friday night’s midget car event.
Calls placed to the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and the Tulsa Police Department on Saturday afternoon by FOXSports.com were not immediately returned.
According to the Tulsa World, sheriff’s office investigators have watched videos of the testy exchange between Stewart and the fan, said to be an off-duty sheriff’s deputy, and are seeking information about what precipitated the discussion and whether Hess acted inappropriately.
"We’re all held to a higher standard, even off duty," Green told the Tulsa World.
A two-time winner of the Chili Bowl, Stewart is not competing in this year’s popular dirt-track event, but has been on hand this week to assist with track preparations.
Multiple videos captured by fan cellphones and shared on Twitter of Friday night’s incident show three-time Sprint Cup Series champion Stewart approaching the man in the stands and putting his hands on him.
Videos then show the two men talking back and forth for several seconds before another man, who appears to be a security member, intervenes and pushes the fan into his seat, while Stewart leans in and continues to talk.
Stewart, a co-owner and driver for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, is set to begin his final season in NASCAR’s top division with the start of Daytona Speedweeks in February.