The lawsuit against Tony Stewart could come to a close as early as next week
In August 2014, Kevin Ward Jr and Tony Stewart were involved in an on-track dirt sprint car incident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in Ontario County, New York. Under caution laps, Ward came down the banking to show displeasure with Stewart.
On the dimly lit dirt track, in a black suit and a black helmet, Ward was struck. The 20-year-old sprint car driver died at the scene.
It’s been almost 4 years since the terrible accident. The 3-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has since retired and returned to dirt track racing. However, in the midst of that, he’s also been in and out of the court system.
First it was the criminal case, Stewart was cleared on all charges. Then, the family of Kevin Ward filed a civil lawsuit against Stewart for ‘pain and suffering’ among a list of other items. The two parties have gone back and fourth to court for the past several years.
Most recently, in December 2017, the U.S. District Court judge issued a ruling that waivers signed at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park dirt track were unenforceable.
In return, Tony Stewart filed an appeal. That appeal was thrown out and the case was set to be put to trial on May 7, 2018 stating that those arguments could be heard during trial instead of before.
However, just ahead of the first trial hearing, the family of Kevin Ward Jr have stated to the judge that the two parties have reached an agreement outside of the court system. The pending agreement has the potential to put the civil case to rest.
To make it official, the settlement hearing has been set by Judge David Hurd for April 12. Once papers are signed, this civil case would finally be over after several years of delays.
Tony Stewart was already proven innocent in the criminal case, years ago. This is a separate case that doesn’t necessarily require the same verdict.
Any settlement agreement will have to come out of Stewart’s personal pocket. He had insurance for his dirt sprint car team. However, following a hearing and an appeal, the judge ruled in favor of the insurance company who said they were not liable to cover court costs.
The reasoning from the Axis Insurance Company was simple. They stated that sprint car races in the Empire Super Sprints specifically were not listed as part of the insurance coverage.
Trial was set to begin on May 7, 2018 for the civil case. If the two parties agree and sign the settlement agreement in court on April 12th, 2018 then the case will be officially dropped and it will not be forwarded to trial.
The potential settlement amount has not been released.
Here’s the video of the Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward accident from August 2014.
Related: Judge denies appeal; Trial date set