Father of killed driver lashes out at Tony Stewart

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The father of the driver run over and killed by Tony Stewart told The Syracuse Post-Standard that "there's no reason for" the crash that led to his son's death.

Kevin Ward Jr. was sent into the wall when his car was bumped by Stewart's in a dirt-track race on Saturday night in Canandaigua. Ward got out of the car and walked onto the track, where he was hit by Stewart.

Kevin Ward Sr. tells the newspaper that "Tony Stewart was the best damn driver by far on the track that night. Why he had to go up as high as he did and hog my son, there's no reason for it."

When the 20-year-old Ward got out of his damaged car, he walked on the track and appeared to point at Stewart. Other cars drove past him, but Stewart's right-rear tire appeared to hit him and drag him along the track.

"Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn't see him," Ward told the newspaper.

No charges have been filed against Stewart, but they are still possible.

Ward also addressed that in his interview with the newspaper, saying: "The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison. Is he going to say what he done?"

Stewart could still face criminal charges, even if the three-time NASCAR champion didn't mean to kill Ward, hurt him or even scare him.

"They're going to look at all possibilities here," CBS News legal analyst Jack Ford said. "There could be some type of charges out of here that don't focus on intent."

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero, who announced on Tuesday that the investigation is continuing, has said that his initial findings have turned up nothing that would indicate criminal intent in the crash at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park.

But legal experts agree that does not mean Stewart is in the clear.

The NASCAR star could be charged with second-degree manslaughter under New York law if prosecutors believe he "recklessly caused the death of another person," with negligent homicide another possibility, according to criminal law professor Corey Rayburn Yung of the Kansas University School of Law.

"The question over whether someone was reckless is a factual one, and one a prosecutor might let a jury decide," said Yung, who also posts at the Concurring Opinion blog.

On-track confrontations between drivers are becoming more common in auto racing but Stewart has a reputation for being especially short-tempered.

He has been fined three times for his on-track behavior, as well as altercations with reporters, photographers and race officials. Two years ago, Stewart walked onto the track and threw his helmet at another driver he felt had wronged him.

"He's not afraid to battle with other drivers when it comes to his opinions and how he thinks things should be done but when he's in the race car he's extremely talented," said Jeff Gluck, who has covered racing for USA Today for 10 years.

Investigators are looking at everything from the muddy conditions of the track to whether the lights were working and sufficient. Stewart and his team declined CBS News' request for an interview.

Meanwhile, in the wake of Ward's death, NASCAR could issue an edict as early as this weekend's race at Michigan International Speedway that makes it mandatory for drivers to stay in their cars until safety personnel arrive.

Brewerton Speedway and Fulton Speedway, New York dirt tracks under the same management, announced new rules that drivers would be required to stay in their cars during an accident.

"If a driver, for whatever reason, exits a car on the track during a caution period, the race will automatically be placed under a red flag and all cars will come to a complete stop," a news release on the tracks' website says. "A driver may exit a car if requested by a safety crew member or if safety warrants in cases such as a fire. Drivers that exit a car without permission, for whatever reason, are subject to fine and/or suspension at the discretion of track management."

Brad Keselowski, the 2012 Sprint Cup champion, said it could be tough for NASCAR to enforce a similar rule.

"I'm not aware of any rule or law that works without the ability to enforce it," he said. "I don't know how you can enforce a rule like that unless you had a robot on the track to grab the person and put them back in the car. The only way you can enforce it is with a penalty system afterwards. Really, at that point, it's not effective. It's a difficult rule to try to make work."

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