Kurt Busch will not face criminal charges for his involvement in the alleged assault of ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll, the Delaware Attorney General's office announced Thursday.
"The Delaware Department of Justice has carefully reviewed the complaint made of an alleged act of domestic violence involving Kurt Busch in Dover on Sept. 26, 2014, which was reported to the Dover Police Department on Nov. 5, 2014 and investigated," the Delaware Department of Justice said in a statement. "After a thorough consideration of all of the available information about the case, it is determined that the admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime during the September 26th incident. Likelihood of meeting that high burden of proof is the standard for prosecutors in bringing a case. For this reason, the Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges in this case."
Busch, indefinitely suspended by NASCAR Feb. 20, issued a statement Thursday afternoon:
"I am grateful that the prosecutors in Delaware listened, carefully considered the evidence, and after a thorough investigation decided to not file criminal charges against me. I wish to thank my family, friends, fans, and race team who stood by me throughout this nightmare with their unwavering support. Thanks also goes to my legal team for making sure that the truth got out and was fully provided to the prosecutors. As I have said from the beginning, I did not commit domestic abuse. I look forward to being back in racing as soon as possible and moving on with my life."
Driscoll accused Busch of assaulting her inside his motor home on Sept. 26, 2014 at Dover International Speedway, the site of a NASCAR race that weekend. The couple had broken up the week before the incident.
Driscoll testified in a protective order hearing that Busch was an "alcoholic" and battling depression. She testified to showing up unannounced at Busch's motor home due to some alarming texts she received from him. When Driscoll arrived, along with her then-9-year-old, she and Busch fought. It was then that Busch grabbed her by the throat and slammed her head three times against a bedroom wall.
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Busch denied the assault, but acknowledged "cupping" Driscoll's face, saying he "tapped" her head against the wall in the process. He also testified that he was, in fact, scared of Driscoll because of comments she had made about being an alleged assassin who had killed drug lords around the world.
During cross-examination and in comments to the media, Busch's attorneys attempted to portray Driscoll as a vengeful ex-girlfriend determined to ruin Busch's career.
A Family Court Commissioner ruled in favor of Driscoll's request for a no-contact order last month. In his determination, Commissioner David Jones said "more likely than not" Busch "committed an act of abuse" against his former girlfriend.
The decision by the Delaware Attorney General's office to not charge Busch was "disappointing," Driscoll said in a statement she emailed to SB Nation on Thursday.
"While I respect the process, I am disappointed that full justice was not served here," Driscoll said. "My family and I take a measure of solace in the Order of Protection From Abuse granted by commissioner Jones, who ruled my account of the facts was the most credible. At great risk to my personal and professional reputation, I have spoken candidly, at length, and on the record, to a variety of outlets in an effort to correct the distortions and sensationalism that have unfortunately marked the coverage of this painful time in my family's life. I would urge anyone covering this case to stick to the well-established facts. Giving further air to baseless and discredited accusations about me does a disservice to the public and reduces a serious matter for law enforcement into tabloid gossip."
Busch was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR on Feb. 20, two days before the Daytona 500, following Jones' findings. The 2004 Cup Series champion lost two appeals to overrule NASCAR's decision. He has missed the first two races of the season and will miss the race on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch's home track.
On Monday, a NASCAR spokesman confirmed to SB Nation that Busch had agreed to the terms and conditions set forth by the sanctioning body to receive possible reinstatement. No timetable was given for Busch's potential return.