Sports

Inquiry into Tony Stewart-Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy to take a while

Patience urged as inquiry continues into Tony Stewart-Kevin Ward Jr. tragic incident

The probe into the incident in which NASCAR's Tony Stewart struck and killed another driver who was on foot during a race in upstate New York will continue at least two more weeks, authorities said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, fellow NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski urged the public to be patient in seeking answers about the event, in which 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. died, until the investigation is completed.

"The dust has to settle before anyone can have really a full opinion on it," Keselowski told reporters on a conference call. "Right now I don't even think everybody has all the facts. We have to get to that level first."

During a non-NASCAR, sprint-car race Saturday night on the half-mile dirt track at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, the cars of Stewart and Ward made contact and Ward's car crashed, bringing out a caution period that slowed the cars.

As captured on an amateur video widely viewed on the Internet, Ward then climbed from his car, walked on the track, appeared to gesture in anger toward Stewart and then was struck by Stewart's car as Stewart circled back around.

Stewart's car was traveling 35 to 40 mph and Ward died of massive blunt trauma to the head even though he was wearing his helmet, Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said. Ward's funeral was scheduled for Thursday in Turin, N.Y.

In a statement Tuesday, Povero said "investigators continue to see witnesses, gather evidence and develop the racetrack crash reconstruction. However, it would be inappropriate to discuss details or findings of the investigation with the media at this time."

Povero had said Monday no criminal charges were pending against Stewart, a three-time NASCAR champion, but the investigation was continuing.

Meanwhile, there has been heated public debate over which driver might have been at fault.

"Certainly a lot of emotion ... on this topic, which is good in the sense that people care," Keselowski said. "My take on it now is to let the dust settle for a little bit and let some cooler heads prevail.

"But it's obviously still very, very tragic and still very, very fresh, a raw wound."

Keselowski, a Michigan native who won NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series title in 2012, was speaking ahead of Sunday's NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway. Stewart has yet to announce whether he'll drive in the race.

james.peltz@latimes.com

Twitter: @PeltzLATimes

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
Comments
Loading