The father of Kevin Ward, Jr., who died Saturday after bring struck by NASCAR star Tony Stewart, said Tuesday that his son “was just a very God-gifted kid.”
“I think he slept with a smile on his face,” Kevin Ward told Syracuse.com of his son, in an interview published Wednesday.
Kevin Ward, Jr. was killed after he was struck by Stewart’s car during a race on a dirt track in Canandaigua, New York, about 25 miles from Rochester. Before the incident, Ward’s car was bumped into a wall by Stewart’s vehicle, effectively knocking Ward out of the race. During a subsequent safety lap, Ward got out of his car and stood on the track, seemingly to confront Stewart about the collision — a move that’s not uncommon in local races. However, Ward was struck and dragged by Stewart’s car, and he died later that day.
An investigation into the incident is currently ongoing. Stewart, a NASCAR driver who also often competes on a local level, dropped out of a NASCAR event Sunday following Ward’s death.
“I think the reason [Ward] probably got out of that car is who put him into the wall. He was definitely put into the wall,” Ward’s father told Syracuse.com. “Apparently, Tony Stewart was the only one driving out there who didn’t see him.”
Ward Sr. said he did not see his son get hit because he was busy getting to the spot where the racer’s car had hit the wall. He did, however, watch paramedics perform CPR on his son for some 45 minutes.
“He was a special person to many, and a very special person to his family,” Ward Sr. said.
Ward Sr. and his wife have met with the Ontario County Sheriff’s deputies twice since their son’s death.
“The one person that knows what happened that night is possibly facing 10 years in prison. Is he going to say what he done?,” asked Ward Sr.