Around 11:30pm EDT on Saturday August 9th, Twitter started blowing up with eyewitness accounts about Tony Stewart reportedly running over another driver at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park in New York – about an hour away from Watkins Glen International.
The tweets rolled in and rumors flooded the social network but the only official word was that Stewart and Kevin Ward, Jr., a 20 year old Sprint Car driver, were involved in an accident that was under police investigation. Witness reports from USA Today explained that the two drivers had gotten into an accident where Ward was spun around and ended up in the wall – he got out of his car and was waving his arms in the air, pointing directly at Stewart as the cars came around on the next lap under yellow. Witnesses stated that Stewart “gunned it” when he was coming up on Ward and the back end of Stewart’s car struck Ward, sucked him underneath and then threw him down the track (the distance was reported as 50 feet in most accounts).
Sadly, less than 4 hours later – just after 3:00am EDT on Sunday August 10th – multiple accredited news syndicates confirmed what the eyewitnesses had said shortly after the incident – that Kevin Ward, Jr. had passed away due to the injuries he sustained from being run over at the track earlier that evening.
The Ontario County Sheriff spoke to media saying that the driver struck by Stewart’s car was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital and also reported that Stewart was cooperative with authorities in questioning. Stewart has since been released, the Sheriff confirming that at this time the investigation is not criminal.
I will not make any commentary regarding the unconfirmed rumors surrounding the evenings events, but only say that regardless of how this situation plays out legally for Stewart, his reputation and career will more than likely be affected in a negative fashion.
There was a video of the incident uploaded to YouTube in the very early morning hours but I for one refuse to watch it – especially now, knowing that the driver was killed. I know I can not keep you from watching it, but I will not post it here and further promote the sensationalism of it all.
As a member of the media, it is my job to bring you accurate reports, statistics and sometimes my personal opinion where warranted. So on a personal note tonight, let’s just remember that a very young man, barely out of his teenage years, lost his life tonight. So, before you hit play on that video, think about how you would feel if it were your child or brother or friend in the video – would you want to watch their death? I highly doubt it. So maybe think twice, exercise a little self-control, and have some respect for the family by not engaging.
We live in a world where EVERYTHING is accessible. Literally, everything. But that doesn’t mean we should partake in all of it. Remember what’s ethical, what’s decent & when enough is enough.
Prayers and thoughts go out the family & friends of Kevin Ward, Jr.