Kevin Ward Jr. had enough marijuana in his system to impair his judgment the night he got out of his car on an upstate New York track to confront Tony Stewart, whose car struck and killed Ward during a sprint car race.
That was the result of a toxicology test revealed Wednesday by Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo, who said Wednesday that a grand jury had decided not to press criminal charges against Stewart related to Ward’s death.
BREAKING: Prosecutor: Driver Kevin Ward under influence of marijuana night he was killed by Tony Stewart.
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 24, 2014
MORE: Kevin Ward Jr.'s toxicology report showed he had high enough levels of marijuana in his system to impair judgment.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) September 24, 2014
Ward, 20, died at a local hospital after Stewart’s car struck him on the track at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on the night of August 9.
Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion who races at low-profile events such as the one at Canandaigua in his spare time, faced the possibility of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges. He could still face a wrongful death lawsuit if Ward’s family choses to pursue one.
Stewart issued a statement shortly after the announcement. Here’s the full text, via WISH-TV.
This has been the toughest and most emotional experience of my life, and it will stay with me forever. I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve received and continue to receive. I respect everything the District Attorney and Sheriff’s Office did to thoroughly investigate this tragic accident. While the process was long and emotionally difficult, it allowed for all the facts of the accident to be identified and known. While much of the attention has been on me, it’s important to remember a young man lost his life. Kevin Ward Jr.’s family and friends will always be in my thoughts and prayers.