Brad Keselowski was asked about the continued legal proceedings surrounding the death of Kevin Ward Jr. on August 9 at Canandaigua Motorsports Park during his media availabilty on Friday.
Ward was hit by Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart after he exited his car to confront Stewart's car on the track. The Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Department investigation into Ward's death wrapped before the Chase for the Sprint Cup began and on Tuesday, the Ontario County District Attorney sent the case to a grand jury.
During its investigation, Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said officials had obtained a second video of the incident. Shortly after it happened, a video of the incident was posted to YouTube. Details of the second video are unknown.
Save for statements made during the early stages, the OCSD's investigation was largely done out of the public eye.
"The only concern I have is that it sounds like there is a second tape that they haven't released and I don't understand why," Keselowski said. "Beyond that, it kind of feels a little bit like a cop-out that they sent it to the grand jury. But I think everybody is wishing Tony the best and supporting him, and that's probably the most important thing.
Under New York state law, the process of sending a case to a grand jury is not a cop-out. It's due process, especially when there is a death of a human being involved. This is taken directly from the New York County District Attorney's website.
Under New York State law, unless the defendant consents, all felony cases must be presented to the Grand Jury. Grand Juries are empowered to hear evidence presented by prosecutors, and to take various actions regarding the evidence and legal charges they are to consider.
As we've pointed out before, it's incredibly important to note that a grand jury's involvement does not automatically mean an indictment is forthcoming. While Ontario County District Attorney Michael Tantillo had the option of dismissing the case himself, the grand jury can as well in addition to requesting felony or misdemeanor charges in the incident.
Yahoo Sports' Jay Busbee spoke to Donald G. Rehkopf, Jr., a Rochester, N.Y., defense attorney on Tuesday.
Rehkopf noted that Ontario County's district attorney has a history of referring cases with a "hint of a possibility" of criminal charges to the grand jury.
"And that's not necessarily a bad thing," Rehkopf added. "From a broader societal perspective, this allows the grand jury, on behalf of the people, to say 'we do' or 'we do not believe there was criminal intent.'"
Three days after the incident, Keselowski said "the dust has to settle before anyone can really have a full opinion on it. Right now I don't even think everybody has all the facts. I think we have to get to that level first."
Legally, the proverbial dust is currently still settling.
And yes, Stewart's emotional well-being is important in the matter, especially because of his continued participation in the Cup Series. It's an incident that has clearly weighed heavily on him since it happened and Stewart appeared still visibly shaken when he made a public statement on August 29. You can see why Keselowski would possibly be frustrated at the developments; he's seen the toll it's taken on Stewart.
But while it may be the most important thing for many inside of the NASCAR bubble, it's certainly not the most important thing in the scope of reality. Ward's family is missing a 20-year-old with a majority of his life ahead of him. Because of it, the legal process needs to be utilized to a thorough capacity, even if it doesn't mean a speedy resolution.
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