August 11, 2014

Tony Stewart investigation: Authorities obtain 2nd video

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said authorities had obtained a second video, one that offered a different view of the incident in which Kevn Ward Jr., who was standing on the track while the race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park was under caution, was struck by Tony Stewart’s sprint car and killed.

Racing has come to a halt at Canandaigua Motorsports Park as the investigation continues into Saturday night’s fatal incident involving NASCAR star Tony Stewart that killed fellow racer Kevin Ward Jr.

The track canceled its planned racing card for Wednesday night, and on Monday afternoon, officials from the Ontario County Sheriff’s department worked on various aspects of incident reconstruction.

The sign out front of the half-mile dirt track in upstate New York still promoted Saturday night’s event, and a makeshift memorial of flowers honoring Ward had collected over the past two days.

The only noise Monday came from the growing temporary television compound filled with satellite trucks from numerous local and national networks.

“I have made the decision to cancel our upcoming ‘Whacko Wednesday’ event … to give my family, staff, fans and racing teams time to grieve and process all that has occurred,” Jeremie Corcoran, the track’s promoter, said in a statement.

“Kevin Ward Jr. was a spirited competitor and loved by so many. This is a tremendous loss to this family and the racing family as well.”

Also Monday, Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said authorities had obtained a second video, one that offered a different view of the incident in which Ward, who was standing on the track while the race was under caution, was struck by Stewart’s sprint car.

Povero said both videos were undergoing forensic analysis, and his department was continuing to speak to witnesses and experts.

“We are looking also for persons outside that are familiar with racing, that are familiar with dirt racing that can help us review and analyze these tapes to hopefully clearly understand the crash,” he said.

An autopsy was completed Monday and determined the 20-year-old died of massive blunt trauma. The district attorney asked that any toxicology results from the autopsy not be released, Povero said.

While the investigation continues, Povero said his department still had no facts in hand that would point to any criminal intent by Stewart.

Stewart on Monday elected to cancel his participation in an upcoming sprint car race on Saturday night at Plymouth (Ind.) Speedway.

The three-time Sprint Cup series champion elected to sit out Sunday’s Cup race at Watkins Glen International and has not made a decision whether to compete in this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway.

“It is still an emotional time for all involved, Tony included. He is grieving and grief doesn’t have a timetable,” Stewart’s public relations representative, Mike Arning, said in a statement.

Povero declined to put a timeline on the investigation, insisting his department was going to do the most thorough job possible before reaching a conclusion.

“Right now, we continue to work as quickly and expeditiously as possible to locate and evaluate relative information that may exist regarding this particular investigation,” he said. “We have never really done anything like this.”

Services were set for Ward, with visitations from noon to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Trainor Funeral Home in Boonville, N.Y., about eight miles from his home in Port Leyden. The funeral service is 11 a.m. Thursday at South Lewis Senior High School in Turin.

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