Sheriff: No plans to talk to Stewart again 'at this time'

ONTARIO COUNTY, New York - UPDATE: 6:40 p.m.

Kevin Ward Jr. died of blunt force trauma when he was hit by a car driven by NASCAR star Tony Stewart.
Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero says the autopsy was completed Monday. The 20-year-old driver was competing in a dirt-track race in upstate New York.
Authorities questioned Stewart on Saturday night and went to Watkins Glen to talk to him again Sunday. Povero said Monday there were no plans "at this time" to talk to him again.
There is no timetable to complete the investigation.
Povero says there is nothing in the inquiry that supports criminal conduct or probable cause. He says there was no camera in Stewart's car.

UPDATE: Monday Aug. 11, 2014 (3:40 p.m.)

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (AP) - A sheriff in upstate New York says there are no current plans to interview Tony Stewart for a third time.
Authorities talked to the three-time NASCAR champion Saturday night, and again yesterday, concerning the death of a fellow driver during a dirt-track sprint-car race.
The other driver, Kevin Ward, had been in a wreck, and had then walked out onto the track -- apparently to confront Stewart about the wreck. Stewart's car appeared to fishtail from the rear, hitting and killing Ward.
The sheriff said yesterday that investigators don't have any evidence to support criminal intent, but that criminal charges haven't been ruled out. He has appealed for spectators to turn over photos and videos of the crash -- amid questions about whether Stewart was trying to intimidate Ward by driving too close to him, only to have the risky move turn fatal.
Stewart dropped out of yesterday's NASCAR race at Watkins Glen, hours after Saturday's crash. There's no word yet on whether he will drive in this weekend's NASCAR race in Michigan.
A spokesman says Stewart "will have as much time as he needs to make that decision." The spokesman says it's "still an emotional time for all involved, Tony included."

UPDATE 11:04 p.m.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) - Tony Stewart did not taking part in the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen. He withdrew before the start of the race, hours after killing a dirt track racer during a race in upstate New York. The three-time champion struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr., who had climbed from his car and was on the darkened dirt track trying to confront Stewart during a race.
Ward had crashed following contact with Stewart one lap earlier and got out of his car as it was stopped along the fence. Video of the incident showed Ward walking from his crashed car onto the racing surface as cars circled by, and, as he gestured at Stewart's passing car, he was struck.
Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said that criminal charges have not been ruled out, but that investigators don't have any evidence at this point in the investigation to support criminal intent.
Authorities questioned the 43-year-old Stewart once on Saturday night and went to Watkins Glen to talk to him again Sunday. They described him as "visibly shaken" after the crash and said he was cooperative.
The winner of the race was AJ Allmendinger, who picked up his first Sprint Cup victory. The victory made his one-car team for JTG Daugherty Racing eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup title.
In Allmendinger's first TV interview after winning, he offered his condolences to the Ward family, saying "we're a community here, we're thinking about you."
The race was marred by a multi-car crash that forced the race to stop as officials cleared the track of debris.

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.

Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Phil Povero said earlier that Tony Stewart is not being investigated for criminal wrongdoing in Saturday nights accident that killed Kevin Ward Jr.

"Again, I want to please emphasize and make it clear that at this very moment there are no facts in hand that would substantiate or support a criminal charge or indicate criminal intent on the part of any individual," said Povero.

Sheriff Povero said they do want to look at any footage available of the accident to help with the forensic reconstruction.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.

Tony Stewart releases statement:

"There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the incident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.  It's a very emotional time for all involved and it is the reason I've decided not to participate in today's race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and everyone affected by this tragedy."

UPDATE 12:15 p.m.

NASCAR releases statement:

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and fellow competitors of Kevin Ward Jr. We support Tony Stewart's decision to miss today's race and we will continue to respect the process and timeline of the local authorities and will continue to monitor this situation moving forward." 

UPDATE 10:30 a.m.

A member of Tony Stewart's racing team says Stewart will not race in NASCAR event Sunday hours after he struck and killed a driver who was walking on a dirt track during a race on Saturday night.

Greg Zipadelli, competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, said Stewart "feels strongly" he should not race at Watkins Glen following the fatal accident.
Regan Smith will replace Stewart in the car.


A manager for NASCAR driver Tony Stewart's racing team says Stewart will race in an event Sunday at Watkins Glen. The decision comes hours after Stewart struck and killed a driver who was walking on a dirt track during a race on Saturday night.

A video of the crash at Canandaigua Motorsports Park showed driver Kevin Ward Jr. stepping toward Stewart's car before being hit and hurtled 50 feet. It appeared Ward was trying to confront Stewart when he was struck.

A spokesman for Stewart's racing team called Ward's death a tragic accident. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends," the spokesman said in a statement. "We're still attempting to sort through all the details."
The Ontario County Sheriff says the Stewart was "fully cooperative" as he was questioned, adding that the investigation is not criminal.

A full summary released by the Ontario County Sheriff's Office says the accident occurred around 10:30 p.m. The driver that was struck was treated by on-track medical staff and was transported to F.F. Thompson Hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 11:15 PM.

Team manager Greg Zipadelli says Stewart will race in NASCAR's event Sunday, calling the race "business as usual."


NBC affiliate News 10 in Rochester, New York is reporting a racer involved in an on-track incident with Tony Stewart died Saturday night.

Ontario County (N.Y.)Sheriff Philip Povero has told reporters the driver Stewart hit Saturday night was dead on arrival to F.F. Thompson Hospital at 11:15 p.m. ET

The name of that driver is being withheld at this time until all family members are notified.

Sheriff Povero told assembled reporters that the District Attorney was aware of the situation and that Tony Stewart was cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

Stewart is believed to be back at Watkins Glen this morning.

No word on if he will compete in Sunday's Sprint Cup race.


The Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Department has confirmed to multiple media outlets that they are investigating an on-track incident between 3-Time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart and another competitor.

Stewart was racing a sprint car Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, a half-mile dirt track just north of Syracuse, New York.

A post on the Canadaigua Motorsports Park Facebook page says Saturday's racing was suspended due to an accident, but did not address specifics. The track page later said they would provide an official statement on Saturday's incident in the future.

No official information regarding the accident or the condition of the other driver involved is available to News 5 at this time.

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