Another driver in the sprint-car race in which the car of NASCAR star Tony Stewart struck and killed fellow racer Kevin Ward Jr. while Ward was on foot said he passed Ward moments before the fatal incident.
After contact with Stewart’s sent Ward’s car into the fence, Ward climbed out and walked on the track at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York on Saturday night.
While apparently gesturing angrily toward Stewart as the cars circled back around the dirt track, Ward, 20, was struck by Stewart’s car.
Moments earlier, “I drove right by him,” driver Paul Kinney told NBC News, referring to Ward. “He looked a little bit angry. I didn’t think much of it. A lot of drivers do that.”
Kinney said it was “obviously not a racing incident. It’s not a good idea to get out of your car and run toward other cars. But nobody can speak for Tony. Only Tony knows exactly what happened.”
Kinney added that as he passed by Ward, “I seen Kevin clear as day. Nobody else ran into him, either.”
Amateur video of the incident has sparked widespread public debate about who might have been at fault. Kinney said he watched the video once and does not want to see it again.
Local authorities reiterated Monday that there were no criminal charges pending against Stewart but that their investigation continues.
Stewart has not commented publicly on what happened but issued a statement saying, “There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident.”
Funeral services for Ward were scheduled for Thursday at a high school in Turin, N.Y.
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