NASCAR driver and three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart struck and killed a walking driver during a sprint car race in Canandaigua, N.Y., Saturday night.
Stewart spun out fellow driver 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr., which prompted Ward to exit his vehicle to express his anger to the still driving Stewart. Stewart hit Ward as he was approaching his vehicle, knocking the younger driver 50 feet down the track.
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An emergency team immediately rushed to Ward’s aid, but he was later pronounced dead at a local hospital Saturday night. According to an Associated Press report, the police investigation into the incident is not criminal and Stewart has fully cooperated with the process.
Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero also stated that the NASCAR star is “very upset” over what transpired Saturday night. Povero told the AP that the race was under caution when the accident occurred, adding Stewart was following closely behind another car at the time. “The first car swerved to avoid the driver [Ward],” the sheriff stated to the AP.
A spokesman for Stewart called the event a “tragic accident.” But the manager of Stewart’s race team emphasized that the driver would still compete in a Sunday race at Watkins Glen. “We’re business as usual today,” Greg Zipadelli told USA TODAY Sports.