NEW YORK (AP) — The parents of a sprint car driver struck and killed last year by Tony Stewart believe a wrongful-death lawsuit is the only way to hold the NASCAR star accountable.
Pamela and Kevin Ward Sr. said Friday on “Good Morning America” they want “justice” for their 20-year-old son.
“That’s what we want,” Pamela Ward said. “I don’t feel Tony meant to kill my son. But his actions killed my son. I think he lost his temper.”
Kevin Ward Jr. was killed last August at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park when he exited his car under caution in an apparent attempt to confront Stewart. As Ward Jr. walked down the track, he was struck by Stewart’s car.
The Wards believe Stewart revved his engine and swerved toward Ward Jr.
“Tony races every weekend,” Kevin Ward Sr. said. “Well, I know my son will never get to race again. He took a very, very big part of my family’s life.”
A grand jury in September cleared Stewart of any criminal wrongdoing. The Ontario County district attorney also added Ward was under the influence of marijuana the night of the incident.
“I do not believe my son was impaired,” Pamela Ward said.
The wrongful death suit filed Aug. 7 seeks unspecified damages stemming from Ward Jr.’s potential future earnings and suffering at the time of the accident.
Stewart has maintained the incident was an accident. He’s never publicly commented in detail on the sequence of events that evening, and has declined to discuss the lawsuit.
“I wish he hadn’t gotten out of the car, more than anybody,” Pamela Ward said of her son’s actions. “But I also acknowledge the fact that if Tony would have stayed low on the track and not gunned his engine and headed for my son, my son would still be here.”
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