ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The family of a young driver struck and killed by Tony Stewart’s car on an upstate New York sprint racing track filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NASCAR star Friday.
The lawsuit was filed as Stewart prepares to return to Watkins Glen International Raceway on the one-year anniversary of the fatal crash.
The lawsuit accuses Stewart of gross negligence, saying he gunned his engine and put his car into a skid as 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. walked onto the track after a crash at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Aug. 9, 2014. The car struck Ward, and he was killed.
A grand jury declined to indict Stewart, who called it “100 percent an accident.”
Ward’s family has requested a jury trial, seeking unspecified monetary damages.
There was no immediate comment from Stewart.
“Kevin Ward would be alive today if not for the reckless and dangerous actions of Tony Stewart, who eventually will have to answer for what he did,” said the family’s lawyer, Mark Lanier.
Lanier said the family will have no further comment.
Stewart, who frequently races in extracurricular events as a hobby, was participating in a sprint race on a dirt track when Ward crashed into a wall after a bump with Stewart.
The lawsuit notes Stewart’s reputation for having a temper and claims that Stewart deliberately veered toward Ward after the collision.