Kevin Ward's family says it settled with Tony Stewart due to financial reasons

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nascar/sprint/drivers/87/" data-ylk="slk:Tony Stewart">Tony Stewart</a> struck and killed Kevin Ward in August 2014 at a short track in upstate New York. (Associated Press)
Tony Stewart struck and killed Kevin Ward in August 2014 at a short track in upstate New York. (Associated Press)

The family of Kevin Ward said in court Thursday that it had agreed to a settlement with three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart because of financial reasons.

The Ward family filed a wrongful death suit against Stewart after Kevin’s death on Aug. 9, 2014. Kevin Ward died when he was struck by the right-rear tire of Stewart’s car during a sprint race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. The two drivers had been racing for position and Ward hit the wall. He climbed from his car and walked down the track, apparently to confront Stewart. He was then flung down the track after he was hit.

Stewart was not criminally charged in Ward’s death. Investigators said there wasn’t evidence of a criminal act and noted that Ward was under the influence of marijuana at the time of his death.

The family had sued Stewart hoping for a judgment in their favor but agreed to a settlement last week because of the potential legal costs of a wrongful-death trial. The terms of the settlement are not public.

“Our whole goal was to hold Tony Stewart accountable,” Pamela Ward said in court Thursday via ESPN. “I wanted this case to go to trial. … That was our ultimate goal to get justice for my son.”

Stewart testified that he hit the accelerator on his car to try to drive away from Ward in the split-second that he saw Ward approaching his car. Ward’s family contended that Stewart pitched his car in the direction of Ward on purpose.

Stewart and his legal team had tried to dismiss the suit on the grounds that the waivers Ward signed to participate in the race prevented the family from suing.

According to ESPN, both the Ward family and Stewart declined to comment after Thursday’s hearing finalizing the agreement.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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