Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
UPDATE #6 – It was announced today (9-11-14) that the investigation into the death of Kevin Ward Jr. has come to a conclusion. The entire thorough investigation, including a forensic video enhancement recently received from the New York State Police Laboratory in Albany, has been submitted to the Office of the Ontario County District for review. The District Attorney’s Office, which has been meeting throughout the investigative process with members of the Sheriff’s Office, will make a statement late next week advising what action will be taken regarding the investigation.
UPDATE #5 – It was announced Friday morning (8-29-14) that the investigation into the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. is expected to continue for “at least two more weeks.” This is according to Philip C. Povero, Sheriff, Ontario County, New York. Povero also stated that “When the investigation is completed, the news media will be advised as to what action will be taken.” The investigation and its outcome is now on the back burner for Stewart and his fans as the driver of the No. 14 machine preps for qualifying tonight and his racing return Saturday night.
UPDATE #4 – NASCAR has announced that Tony Stewart is still eligible for the 2014 chase. However in order to make the chase he will have to win one of the final two races of the regular season.
UPDATE #3 – SHR has confirmed our report from this morning, Tony Stewart will indeed return to racing at Atlanta.
UPDATE #2 – Sources have confirmed the No. 14 machine in Atlanta has been fitted with Tony Stewart’s seat and that his name is on the car. While no official announcement has been made a member of the No. 14 team has disclosed that the belief internally is that Stewart will return to the track this weekend. The source could not disclose any further information but did say that they would place the odds of Stewart racing this weekend at “75 percent and very likely unless something changes last minute.” An announcement could come as soon as late in the afternoon Thursday.
UPDATE #1 – According to sources an announcement is expected late Wednesday or early Thursday in regards to Tony Stewarts status for this weekends Sprint Cup Series race from Atlanta. As of late Monday Stewart is listed on NASCAR’s official entry list for the Oral-B 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The investigation into the death of Kevin Ward Jr. and the role in which Tony Stewart played is reportedly coming to an end. It goes without question that Stewart played a role in the death of Ward Jr. as it was his car that struck him. However the results of this investigation will determine whether or not Stewart is at fault or if it’s deemed to be an accident. If Stewart is found to be at fault he could face legal charges and a lengthy trial which I am sure nobody in his position would want to have to endure.
Although the investigation is in its final stages, it still might be some time before the findings are released to the public. According to a recent report by FOX Sports there is no word on when the findings will be released to the public. The report quotes Officer Nathaniel Ross, the OCPD’s Senior Communications Officer who said Monday morning that the police are “finishing up” the investigation. When asked if there was a timetable to make the findings public Ross said “Not that I’m aware of.”
While this isn’t a major revelation when it comes to the investigation; it is confirmation that even when the investigation concludes, the public will most likely be left in the dark for awhile.
While avoiding legal charges might the main focus now for the Stewart camp, it is by no means the only obstacle. Even if Stewart is cleared of any wrongdoing from a legal standpoint he will most likely be sued by the family in civil court.
Unfortunately for Stewart his troubles will extend much further than court. What a lot of people seem to be forgetting here is that there are two sides to this tragic accident. Obviously a lot of the attention should be paid to the Ward family as a young life was lost. However Stewart will also carry a burden as he will have to deal with this for the rest of his racing career and the rest of his life. Regardless of what happened in the moments prior to the accident, the end result will haunt Stewart for the rest of his life. This tragedy will forever leave a dark spot in the lives of Stewart as well as the entire Ward family.
While the road back is undoubtedly going to be long, the first step back begins with this investigation coming to an end.
Be sure to follow along with this article as Beyond The Flag will continue to update this piece as new information in regards to Tony Stewart and the fallout of the investigation become public.