Kevin Ward Jr.’s family has filed a wrongful death suit on August 7 against NASCAR champion Tony Stewart over the killing of the 20-year-old driver during a race at an upstate New York dirt track.
Kevin Ward, 20, died after he got out of his car in the middle of a road race in New York in August 2014 and was hit by Tony Stewart’s car.
The Ward family has accused Tony Stewart of acting with “reckless and malicious intent and negligence” and is suing for unspecified damages.
Tony Stewart was not criminally charged.
In a statement, Kevin Ward’s parents Kevin and Pamela said: “Our hope is that this lawsuit will hold Tony Stewart responsible for killing our son and show him there are real consequences when someone recklessly takes another person’s life.”
A court hearing in September 2014 heard that Kevin Ward was under the influence of marijuana on the night of the accident.
Kevin Ward had “enough to impair judgment”, according to Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo.
Tony Stewart, 43, a three-time NASCAR champion, had previously described the collision as “the toughest and most emotional experience” of his life.
They were racing alongside each other at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on August 9, when Kevin Ward’s car spun out of control.
He exited the vehicle and walked down the track, waving his arms at Tony Stewart in an apparent attempt to confront him.
The lawsuit claims Tony Stewart then revved his car’s engine, causing it to slide and strike the victim, throwing him into the air.
Kevin Ward’s father later told a local newspaper there was “no reason” for the death, given Tony Stewart’s experience and skills.
Police spent four weeks examining evidence in the case, including two videos, which they said “did not demonstrate aberrational driving by Tony Stewart”.
A New York grand jury declined to charge Tony Stewart on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.