The case to determine whether Tony Stewart will face charges in the death of fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. is heading to a grand jury, Ontario County (N.Y.) D.A. Michael Tantillo announced in a statement Tuesday.
Stewart struck and killed Ward during a dirt track race at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Canandaigua, N.Y. on Aug. 9 following an altercation between the drivers.
“Over the past several weeks, I have reviewed with members of the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department their investigation, as it progressed, in the Tony Stewart matter,” Tantillo said in a statement, according to The Washington Post. “Recently that office concluded its work and forwarded the complete case file to me. Upon my review of all of the information contained in the entire investigation, I have made the determination that it would be appropriate to submit the evidence to a grand jury, for their determination as to what action should be taken in this matter.
“Accordingly, the evidence developed in the investigation will be presented to an Ontario County grand jury in the near future,” he concluded.
Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, responded in a statement later on Tuesday, saying: “I respect the time and effort spent by both the Ontario County District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office in investigating this tragic accident. I look forward to this process being completed, and I will continue to provide my full cooperation.”
Grand jury proceedings are confidential, and it has not been announced when the case will be heard. In the meantime, Stewart, 43, has returned to racing and will next compete in the Sylvania 300 on Sunday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
As TheWrap previously reported, Stewart took a three-week hiatus following Ward’s death during the Lucas Oil Super Sprint Feature race.
The collision happened after Ward, who was 20, “lost control mid-race, got out of his car and was standing on the dirt track,” Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said in a statement shortly after the collision. As Ward stood on the track, two cars approached him. “The first car swerved to avoid the driver out on the track. The second car, operated by Tony Stewart, struck the driver,” the sheriff’s statement continued.