BOSTON (CBS) — Tragedy hit the race car community at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park dirt track in New York on Saturday night. NASCAR driver Tony Stewart ran over 20-year old Kevin Ward during a confrontation at the sprint car race in New York. Ward was killed instantly.
The incident was caught on video and has horrified sports fans all around the country. Stewart is not currently under investigation and there are no criminal charges pending against the three-time NASCAR champion.
Well, not yet.
To shed some light on the legal ramifications Stewart could face, Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak talked to Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann on Monday.
“When I saw the video, I thought this has to be a criminal investigation,” said McCann. “This doesn’t just seem like a random accident; that a guy walking on a track, Kevin Ward, was hit accidentally by a car that already clipped him and he was now walking in a confrontational way with that car. I don’t think Tony Stewart wanted to kill him or anything like that, but if you drive recklessly or carelessly and you injure someone, that’s often a crime.
“I was very surprised when the sheriff said, after consulting with the DA, that at least this time no charges were pending,” McCann added. “I was surprised at how quickly that announcement was made.”
Gresh went on to ask McCann what a prosecutor could charge Stewart with.
“I think manslaughter would be the worst charge and I don’t think that’s going to happen. Manslaughter could carry a substantial penalty under New York law. I think the more likely penalty, if there is any, is negligent homicide, which refers to accidentally causing the death of somebody else through your carelessness,” said McCann. “And the thinking there is that he wasn’t trying to hurt Ward. Maybe he was trying to scare him. Either way, he was driving recklessly.”
Listen below for the full conversation with McCann: