Report: Judge dismisses wrongful death lawsuit against Tony Stewart over 2014 CNY crash

Kevin Ward Jr. (left) and Tony Stewart (right) [Photo courtesy: Ward family / WTVH]

The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Kevin Ward Jr. against the former NASCAR champion Tony Stewart was officially dismissed on Tuesday, according to ESPN.

Kevin Ward was struck and killed by Stewart's vehicle during the Empire Super Sprints race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Aug. 9, 2014. Ward had exited his vehicle after contact between his car and Stewart's sent Ward spinning into the wall at the upstate New York dirt track. Ward appeared to be yelling in the direction of Stewart when he was fatally struck by Stewart's car.

An Ontario County grand jury cleared Stewart of any criminal wrongdoing just a few weeks after the deadly collision. The District Attorney said Ward had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash.

Ward's parents filed a lawsuit against Stewart in 2015, claiming the former NASCAR star "could have easily acted reasonably and with prudence to avoid striking Ward, just as all other drivers had done" prior. The lawsuit further alleges Stewart "acted with disregard" to the the 20-year-old driver's life when he accelerated his car, "driving his vehicle in a manner that would terrorize Ward and thereafter strike, severely injure and kill Ward."

Both parties reached a settlement in the lawsuit back in April.

Ward Jr.'s mother, Pamela Ward, later told USAToday Sports that she felt "forced" into a settlement, telling the newspaper in May that "we wanted (Stewart) to be held accountable in front of a jury of his peers. He was not held accountable in a criminal case. He basically has never been held responsible at any point. I basically feel our lawyers have let us down as we were informed a month before trial that they would not be willing to take this case to trial."

According to ESPN, the judge issued an order of dismissal Tuesday but did allow for 30 days for the case to be re-opened if the settlement was not consummated or if either side wanted the court involved in the enforcement of the settlement.

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