Investigation into Kevin Ward Junior's death continues

Updated: 08/11/2014 5:28 PM
Created: 08/11/2014 11:57 AM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean and News10NBC

The investigation into the death of 20-year-old Kevin Ward Junior at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night continues.

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero tells News10NBC that an autopsy of Ward took place Monday and that the cause of death was massive blunt trauma.

Deputies say Ward was hit by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart. Right now, Stewart is not facing criminal charges.

Video of the crash shows Ward getting out of his car and it appears he was pointing at Stewart's car perhaps because of what happened during a previous lap. Moments later, deputies say the car driven by Stewart hits Ward.

Today at the racetrack, deputies and investigators stopped and searched around Turn 2 where the collision happened between Kevin Ward Junior and Tony Stewart’s car.

Povero says they are talking to other drivers in the race and they are still looking for video of the accident from different angles.

Ontario County District Attorney Mike Tantillo tells News10NBC his office will not take any action until they get a case from the sheriff.

"It's an incident that happened. It happens everywhere on the road at tracks, local tracks at big tracks. Tony has a temper…a lot of drivers have tempers. "Race fan Jim Natoli left a bouquet of flowers along the fence line at the race track today. "Unfortunately a lot of the fans want to see that stuff. It's turned into a hockey game. Sometimes they want to see the helmets come off and the fists go. Unfortunately that's what people want I guess."

Jeremie Corcoran, Canandaigua Motorsports Park promoter, posted this statement on Facebook, "I am extremely devastated from the tragic incident that occurred at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night as I know are many, many, others.

First and foremost I offer my sincerest and deepest condolences to the Ward family. Kevin Ward Jr. was a spirited competitor and loved by so many. This is a tremendous loss to this family and the racing family as well. I have spoken to the family and they spent prayer time at the track Sunday in the early morning hours. Godspeed #13!

To all the fans that witnessed this incident I have you in my thoughts. This has been difficult to process and it surely is not what you come to the races for. I do ask that you hold on to your integrity and have compassion for everyone that was involved in this. I understand that we all can have opinions and have the right to express them, I just ask that you think about all the lives that have been affected over this before you speak out. So many people are affected. So many are hurting. No one deserves more pain or blame. We need unity to support all that are hurting and the sport of racing we care so much about. That is the only way for us to heal and move forward.

To all my staff that responded to this terrible tragedy I thank you for your professionalism and dedication. Our Medical Staff did everything they could and I know you are all hurting. All the Safety and Track Officials that scrambled to secure the track and keep everyone focused and calm I thank you. To all my friends that have called/texted me I thank you for your encouragement and support.

I have made the decision to cancel our upcoming "Whacko Wednesday" event on Wednesday August 13 at Canandaigua Motorsports Park to give my family, staff, fans, and racing teams time to grieve and process all that has occurred. I will let everyone know about next weekend as soon as I can."

Wednesday’s race at the track has been cancelled. It’s unclear if the race will happen on Saturday.

On Sunday, NASCAR champion Tony Stewart broke his silence in a statement to the media saying in part, “There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Junior. It’s a very emotional time for all involved. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy."

Calling hours for Ward will be held on Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and again from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Trainor Funeral Home on Schuyler Street in Boonville, NY. The funeral will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m.

If you would like to send a card or letter to Ward’s family, please mail it to:
3501 Kelpytown Road
Port Leyden, N.Y. 13433

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