The parents of Kevin Ward Jr. are speaking out for the first time since their son was killed last August. The 20 year-old Ward was involved in an on-track incident at Canandiagua Motorsports Park in upstate New York on August 9, 2014 in involving NASCAR champion Tony Stewart. His parents, Pamela and Kevin Ward Sr. spoke with ABC News this week and Friday the interview was broadcast on Good Morning America.
The incident occurred during a sprint car race. Video showed that Ward had been involved with Stewart on the previous lap. The video showed Ward’s car as it came to rest on the back stretch. Ward exited the vehicle, and still wearing his racing helmet walked toward the line of cars circling under caution. He angrily pointed towards the car driven by Stewart; Stewart’s car struck Ward who was thrown in the air and landed several feet away. Ward was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
In September of last year the Ontario County District Attorney’s office took the evidence in Stewart’s case to a grand jury, which found there was no basis for criminal charges. Toxicology reports revealed that Ward was under the influence of marijuana at a high enough level to impair judgment.
Last Friday Ward’s parents filed a wrongful death suit against Stewart. On Good Morning America Friday, Pamela Ward said that despite the lack of charges against Stewart they felt the need to proceed with their lawsuit. They said they want justice for their son and they want Stewart to be held held accountable and that a civil suit is the only action they have left
“We feel that Tony acted recklessly,” she said. “There were six other cars that passed my son while he was on the track but yet we have the best NASCAR driver in the world, sliding his car sideways. I feel he tried to intimidate Kevin, and throw dirt at him and he ended up hitting and killing my son.”
Wards father added that he has no doubt Stewart knew what he was doing. Ward Sr., said he and his wife believe Stewart revved his racecars engine and veered up the track while the rest of the cars stayed low on the track. Mrs. Ward said she does not believe her son was impaired.
“I wish he hadn’t gotten out of the car, more than anybody,” she said. “But I also acknowledge the fact that if Tony would have stayed low on the track and not gunned his engine and headed for my son, my son would still be here.”
“I don’t feel Tony meant to kill my son” she later added. “But his actions killed my son; I think he lost his temper.”
ABC News’ Paula Faris said that according to the family’s lawyer there is new evidence that will who Stewart was responsible for Kevin Ward Jr.’s death. The full interview will be shown again on ABC’s “Nightline” at 12:35 a.m. ET Saturday morning. Stewart has already gone on record as saying he will not comment on the lawsuit.