Tony Stewart, family of Kevin Ward Jr. reach settlement pending judge’s approval

AP Photo/John Bazemore

The attorneys for Tony Stewart and the family of Kevin Ward Jr. notified a judge Monday that they have a pending settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit the family brought against Stewart after the sprint car crash that killed Ward on Aug. 9, 2014.

Judge David Hurd of the Northern District of New York federal court has set an in-person settlement hearing for April 12 in the Utica, New York courtroom to place terms and conditions of the settlement on the record. 

UPDATE: Both sides filed a motion April 10th to have the hearing either canceled or postponed because they want to keep details of the agreement confidential and “which no further action by this Court is required.”

The pending settlement comes five weeks before the lawsuit, filed Aug. 7, 2015, is scheduled to go to trial.

Ward, 20, was racing Stewart in an Empire Super Sprints race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park when Ward spun into the wall. He climbed from the car during the caution and walked down the track and was struck by Stewart’s car.

Ward died from his injuries. Stewart, in a deposition Dec. 8, 2016, stated he “attempted to change direction” and that “it was a split second from the time that I saw a person until I got to the person.’’

A grand jury cleared Stewart of any criminal wrongdoing on Sept. 24, 2014. The district attorney revealed publicly after the grand jury’s decision that Ward was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident. 

Stewart, whose passion is sprint car racing, did not compete in another sprint car event after the accident until Feb. 10, 2017.

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