Rich Barnes/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The aunt of Kevin Ward Jr., the sprint car driver killed when he was struck by NASCAR star Tony Stewart in a race last month, questioned why her nephew was drug tested, but not the driver that hit him, saying it seemed “the wrong man was on trial.”
“Why was the toxicology report even an issue? Seems to me the wrong man was on trial,” Wendi Ward wrote in the open letter shared with ABC News four days after a grand jury investigation determined there was insufficient evidence to indict the NASCAR star.
The grand jury’s findings clearing Stewart were released Wednesday by the Ontario County District Attorney’s Office in Canandaigua, New York. At that time, prosecutors said a toxicology report showed Ward had marijuana in his system the night he died.
Prosecutors said the grand jury considered manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges in the Aug. 9 incident that occurred during a sprint car event at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.
Ward, 20, who had spun out while racing beside Stewart, died after he got out of his car and was struck by Stewart’s car.
She described Ward as “an amazing person,” who was devoted to his family and community, and loved his sport.
He was “just a small-town boy having fun until the days turned into years, and it then became his passion and life,” she wrote.
A representative for Stewart declined to comment on the letter.
In a statement released after the grand jury’s findings were announced, Stewart said the past two months have been the “toughest and most emotional experience of my life, and it will stay with me forever.”
“While much of the attention has been on me, it’s important to remember a young man lost his life,” he said. “Kevin Ward Jr.’s family and friends will always be in my thoughts and prayers.”
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