New York lawsuit says Stewart acted negligently, recklessly in Kevin Ward’s death
LOWVILLE, New York – Attorneys representing the family of deceased sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, who ran over and killed Mr. Ward during a sprint car race at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park on Aug. 9, 2014.
Mr. Stewart is the only named defendant in the lawsuit filed Friday in the 5th Judicial District for the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Lowville. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mr. Ward’s parents, Kevin and Pamela, who are represented by acclaimed trial lawyer Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm and fellow firm attorneys Judson Waltman of Houston and Richard D. “Rick” Meadow and Evan Janush of New York.
“Our son was truly the light of our lives and we miss him terribly every day,” Mr. and Mrs. Ward said in a statement. “Our hope is that this lawsuit will hold Tony Stewart responsible for killing our son and show him there are real consequences when someone recklessly takes another person’s life.”
Mr. Ward, 20, was killed during the Empire Super Sprint Series at the dirt track course in upstate New York. On lap 14 of the 25-lap race, Mr. Stewart ran Mr. Ward’s car into a wall, causing race officials to issue a yellow caution warning so other drivers could slow down as required by the race rules. Six competing drivers slowed as they passed Mr. Ward while driving on the lower side of the track. Witness descriptions and video of the fatal incident show Mr. Ward exiting his vehicle on the high side of the track and gesturing at Mr. Stewart as he approached. According to witnesses, Mr. Stewart then gunned his accelerator and ran over Mr. Ward, who was pronounced dead shortly afterward at a local hospital.
The lawsuit includes claims that Mr. Stewart wrongfully caused Mr. Ward’s death by acting with wanton, reckless and malicious intent and negligence. The suit says Mr. Steward also caused Mr. Ward to experience extreme terror, pain and suffering. Mr. Ward’s family has requested a jury trial. The case is Kevin A. Ward Sr., et al. v. Anthony Wayne Stewart, No. CA-2015-000280.
“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,” says Mr. Lanier. “The past year has been extremely difficult for Kevin’s mother and father, and they’re still trying to cope with their unimaginable loss.”
Neither the Ward family nor their attorneys plan on issuing further comment.
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