NASCAR driver Tony Stewart is being sued for wrongful death by the family of sprint car driver Kevin Ward, Jr., who died when Ward’s car struck him during a race last year.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in New York Supreme Court on behalf of Ward’s parents, Kevin and Pamela, accuses Ward of “acting with wanton, reckless and malicious intent and negligence,” causing Ward to experience “extreme terror, pain and suffering.”
The 20-year-old Ward was killed Aug. 9,, 2014 during the Empire Super Sprint Series at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York. During the race, Stewart ran Ward’s car into a wall. Ward exited his car and gestured at Stewart, whose car struck Ward.
Ward was pronounced dead shortly afterward at a local hospital.
“It was reasonably foreseeable that, by failing to operate his vehicle in a safe manner, and by failing to steer clear of Decedent Kevin A. Ward, Jr., and hitting the gas of on a 700 horsepower sprint car, Defendant Stewart could strike, injure, and possibly kill Kevin A. Ward, Jr.,” the suit reads.
“Kevin Ward would be alive today if not for the reckless and dangerous actions of Tony Stewart, who eventually will have to answer for what he did,” the Wards’ attorney, Mark Lanier of the Lanier Law Firm, said of the suit. “The past year has been extremely difficult for Kevin’s mother and father, and they’re still trying to cope with their unimaginable loss.”
Judson Waltman of Houston and Richard D. “Rick” Meadow of the Lanier Law Firm are also representing the Wards, as is Evan Janush of New York.
The Wards are seeking a jury trial.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.