I never thought I would write an article about a bunch of Rednecks making left turns, but when one driver kills another driver on the track, I feel compelled to chime in.
By now you have all seen the video of Tony Stewart running over Kevin Ward Jr. with his sprint car at Canandaiguq Motorsports Park in New York. My question is why Stewart isn't being charged with a crime.
I know everyone is saying it's an accident, but it sure looks like Stewart at least tried to put a scare into Ward by buzzing him. I mean, all the other drivers were able to steer clear of Ward as he stupidly stormed down the track after Stewart ran him into the wall on the previous lap. And even though the 20-year-old Ward was wearing black at night, it doesn't sound like his father believed it was an accident.
"Tony Stewart was the best damn driver by far on that track that night," Kevin Ward Sr. said. "Apparently, he was the only one driving out there who didn't see him."
I thought the same exact thing when I saw the video. It clearly appears that Stewart was trying to get close to Ward, but his car fishtailed when he gunned the engine, according to those in attendance, and struck Ward.
Tyler Graves, a sprint car driver, told the Sporting News that he was sitting in the Turn 1 grandstands and saw everything. "Kevin got out of his car....He was throwing his arms up all over the place at Tony. I know Tony could see him, I how you can see out of those cars. When Tony got close to him, he hit the throttle. When you hit the throttle on a sprint car, the car sets sideways. The car set sideways, the right rear tire hit Kevin, Kevin was sucked underneath and was stuck under for a second or two and then it threw him about 50 yards."
Yep. That sure looks like what happened in the video. While that does make it an accident, I believe that it shows intent on Stewart's part as well. Stewart has somewhat of a reputation as a hothead and I think he let his emotions get away from him here.
That doesn't mean that Stewart meant to kill Ward, but I do think it means that Stewart is guilty of a crime here.
If a drunk driver can be convicted of involuntary manslaughter for killing someone while driving impaired, then Stewart should be charged with the same thing. He was clearly driving recklessly and it caused another driver's death. He should be held accountable. But so far, Stewart has not been charged with a crime even after being questioned by the local police.
Now don't take this to the extreme and say that players in other sports should be charged with crimes if they injure or kill an opponent during a game. What Stewart did is way beyond anything I have ever seen in other sports. Things such as hitting a defenseless receiver in football, fighting in hockey, or even throwing at a batter in baseball are all dangerous, but they aren't the same as what Stewart did. What Stewart did is equivalent to that football player leading with his helmet into the head of another player who had lost his helmet. It would be like knocking another hockey player down and then stepping on his throat with your skate blade. It would be like that batter who got hit, stomping after the pitcher and bludgeoning him with his bat.
Tony Stewart didn't mean to kill Kevin Ward Jr., but he certainly was trying to do something to him when "he hit the throttle", knowing what that makes sprint cars do. Now Tony Stewart should be made to pay for his actions.