Sheriff's Office: No evidence of criminal intent in Stewart crash investigation

Updated at 4: 30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10:
Canandaigua (WSYR-TV) - There is no evidence to support criminal charges or to indicate criminal intent in the crash involving NASCAR star Tony Stewart that claimed the life of a 20-year-old driver, according to the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office.

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said the investigation into the incident is ongoing at a press conference held on Sunday.

Stewart’s race car was going about 35 to 40 m.p.h when it struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night, according to Povero.

While the investigation is ongoing, Povero said Stewart is free to go about his life in the meantime and also reiterated the NASCAR driver has been cooperative during the process.

Povero is asking people with extensive knowledge of dirt tracks to call the Sheriff’s Office at (585) 394-4560.

Crash at Canandaigua Speedway being investigated (Photo courtesy of WHAM-TV)
Crash at Canandaigua Speedway being investigated (Photo courtesy of WHAM-TV)
Updated at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10:
Canandaigua (WSYR-TV) - Tony Stewart - the NASCAR star Ontario County Sheriff's Deputies identified as the driver who struck and killed 20-year old Kevin Ward Jr. during a race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night - has released a statement.

The Sheriff’s Office says Stewart, 43,  was "shaken up," but cooperative and is believed to be back at Watkins Glen.

Stewart released the following statement on Sunday:
“There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Sheriff Philip Povero said Ward was taken to F.F. Thompson Hospital by ambulance where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:15 p.m.

His parents were in attendance at the track at the time of the crash. 

The Ontario County District Attorney’s Office has been notified and no charges have been filed at this time.

Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. 

The Sheriff Office says the crash happened at the exit of turn two during the Lucas Oil Super Sprint Feature race.

The race was in lap 14 of 25, according to deputies.  

The Sheriff’s Office is asking people with video of the incident to call them at (585) 394-4560.

Videos circulating online show the No. 14 car driven by Stewart and another car becoming tangled up, sending the other race car into the wall.

Note: NewsChannel 9 and have made an editorial decision to not post or link to these videos because of their graphic nature.

Ward exits the vehicle, walks toward the racing surface, and appears to gesture at Stewart's vehicle right before he was struck.

On its Facebook page, which has now been taken down, Canandaigua Motorsports Park posted the following on Saturday night: 
“Tonight’s racing events were suspended due to an accident. Please hold off any speculation until we have further information to share.”

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