In an open letter written to USA Today, Kevin Ward Jr.’s aunt, Wendi Ward, on Sunday questioned why Tony Stewart never reached out to her family after the tragedy, as well as why it was revealed that her nephew had marijuana in his system at the time of the accident.
Wendi Ward read her letter over the phone to USA Today. It’s clear by Wendi Ward’s words that the pain and wound of Kevin’s death in a tragic accident in a sprint car dirt track race involving the NASCAR star on August 9 remains deep and fresh.
A significant part of Wendi Ward’s letter appeared to question or discount why so much attention was focused on the fact that a post-mortem medical examination found her nephew had marijuana in his system at the time of the tragedy.
“Why was the toxicology report even an issue?” Wendi Ward questioned. “Seems to me the wrong man was on trial. Tell me why Tony Stewart was not taken in for testing, why his car wasn’t impounded. Tell me how a man the size of Kevin can make a sprint car turn to the right on impact. Tell me how a lap before (the incident) everything was fine, but the following lap was poor lighting. Tell me how a NASCAR star totally forgot what caution means.
“Maybe he should get a different headset so he is able to hear on the radio that the car in caution is up high, so go low. Or was he low until he rounded the corner and saw Kevin Jr. standing up for himself?”
On Wednesday, shortly after the grand jury declined to indict Tony Stewart on any criminal charges, Ontario County (N.Y.) district attorney Michael Tantillo said that toxicology reports indicated Kevin Ward Jr. was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the incident at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York.
“This means nothing to me,” Wendi Ward wrote, adding, “but I want to say it is my understanding that pot stays in a person’s system days, weeks, possibly months. Rumor has it that it may be legalized and prescribed for some patients, so then will these people have their drivers’ licenses taken away because it makes you react – supposedly — in a certain way?
“To me, that’s not the case. It’s known to mellow a person. We understand that the report showed marijuana, but we as a family don’t believe he was under the influence or impaired at the time due to the 10 hours prior to the race that he spent with the family.
“What we do believe is that maybe people react to certain situations because of anger. I’ve seen it in NASCAR, sports functions and even on our own roads. And yes, these people have to pay for their actions. Well, I guess it depends on who you are.”
Wendi Ward also criticized Stewart for allegedly not reaching out to the family after the tragedy.
“I guess we will never know why all of this was not taken into consideration,” Wendi Ward wrote. “Or will we never know why a fellow driver did not check on this young man or his family? Or do we know why? I do, because I have seen the video. It’s there, and it’s real.
“I can’t speak for others. These are my opinions and concerns. I only hope some people take a minute to make sure they have done no wrong before throwing stones.”
Wendi Ward signed her letter, “Godspeed, No. 13. Aunt Wendi loves you.”
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