Sheriff: Stewart/Ward investigation may continue for another “2 weeks or more”

1 Comment

In a media briefing this afternoon, Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip Povero said that the investigation into Saturday’s fatal sprint car crash that involved NASCAR driver Tony Stewart and killed Kevin Ward Jr. may continue for at least two more weeks.

Before reading from a prepared statement, Povero said that he would not take any questions from the assembled media.

He then read the statement, which goes as follows:

“The investigation into the death of Kevin Ward Jr., of Lewis County, is ongoing and is expected to continue for at least another two weeks or more. Investigators continue to seek witnesses, gather evidence, and develop the racetrack crash reconstruction.

“However, it would be inappropriate to discuss details or findings of the investigation with the media at this time. I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation as the Ontario County Office of Sheriff continues this investigation, and for having patience as we conduct a thorough review of all the relevant facts involving this tragic crash.

“When the investigation is completed, we will meet with members of the Ontario County District Attorney’s Office and discuss with them all aspects of the investigation into the crash that occurred on Aug. 9, 2014 at the Canandaigua [Motorsports Park].

“At that time, more information relating to any determinations that have been made may be released. In closing, on behalf of the Ontario County Office of Sheriff, we thank all of you for your patience, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family of Kevin Ward Jr.”

In yesterday’s media briefing, Povero stated – as he did on Sunday – that as of now, there was no evidence of criminal intent from any party involved in Saturday’s incident.

He also confirmed Ward’s cause of death as “massive blunt trauma” per the county’s coroner. Visitation for Ward is scheduled for tomorrow at a funeral home in Boonville, New York; his funeral is Thursday.

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
Leave a comment

16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

Follow @JerryBonkowski