COLUMBUS, Ind. — All aspects of a wrongful death lawsuit filed against former NASCAR driver Tony Stewart can proceed after a federal judge denied the racing legend’s request to have multiple claims dismissed.
Judge David N. Hurd made his ruling Tuesday in a 28-page court document filed with the Northern District of New York. A jury trial is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 7 in Utica, New York.
Stewart, now 46, of Columbus, and Ward competed in an Empire Super Sprints race Aug. 9, 2014, at Canandaigua (New York) Motorsports Park, where Stewart’s car struck and killed the 20-year-old Ward.
The following month, a 23-person grand jury in Ontario County, New York, declined to indict Stewart, a three-time NASCAR champion, on either of two charges: manslaughter in the second degree and criminally negligent homicide.
Kevin Ward Sr. and Pam Ward filed the lawsuit Aug. 4, 2015, and blame Stewart for the death of their son.
The parents claim that Stewart’s intent to drive toward and scare their son went awry and that he is liable. Stewart claims that Ward, who had marijuana in his system, created a dangerous situation that Stewart couldn’t avoid when Ward exited his car and walked toward Stewart’s car.
Stewart asked that claims of wrongful death and negligence, conscious pain and suffering, and terror be dismissed in the lawsuit filed by Ward’s parents. If Stewart’s request had been granted, only an intentional/reckless conduct claim would have remained.
Read more in Friday’s print edition of The Republic.