The investigation into the incident that killed sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. on Saturday night is still ongoing, according to Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff Philip C. Povero. At present, no charges are pending against NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, whose car struck Ward. The fatality occurred at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, a dirt track located in upstate New York.
"As we speak at this time, there is no evidence in hand or no facts that would support a criminal charge or support criminal intent on the part of anybody," Povero said.
Ward, 20, and Stewart made contact while racing for position around Turn 2, wrecking Ward's car. Ward then got out of his car and walked down the track to confront Stewart, at which point he was struck by the right side of Stewart's car. Ward was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Povero said the lack of lighting and the black driver suit Ward was wearing may have contributed to the incident. Povero encouraged anyone with video of the events that transpired to contact the Ontario County sheriff's department.
There is no timetable on when the investigation will be concluded. Povero is waiting on an autopsy of Ward by the Monroe County Medical Examiner and a forensics team to recreate the crash.
Following the incident, Stewart spoke with Povero, who described Stewart as "visibly shaken" and cooperative. Stewart then returned to Watkins Glen International where he was scheduled to race in Sunday's Sprint Cup race. Stewart-Haas Racing, the team co-owned by Stewart, announced Stewart's withdrawal from competition around 10:15 a.m. ET.
Sheriff officers traveled to Watkins Glen on Sunday to speak with Stewart further, who withdrew from Sunday's race. Regan Smith took over driving duties of Stewart's No. 14 Cup car.
"There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the incident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr.," Stewart said in a statement issued just after 1 p.m. ET. "It's a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I've decided not to participate in today's race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy."