Sunday, August 10, 2014

Justice for Kevin Ward Jr.

"Tony Stewart's car hit and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a yellow flag on a dirt track."

As a criminal justice student I was utterly shocked that Tony Stewart was not arrested, and his on-board camera and audio equipment cataloged as evidence.  As a person raised in the South, and a race fan, I am disappointed that yellow flag rules were not recognized:

Yellow Flag:
  1. Single Waving: Indicates an area of immediate danger ahead. The driver is REQUIRED to exercise extreme caution in driving, including being prepared to slow, or stop if necessary. Drivers should raise their hand to alert race officials and other drivers of their intent to slow down. Passing is prohibited until safely past the cause(s) of the yellow flag.
Rather than extreme caution, and slow down, Tony Stewart 'accelerated' at or toward Kevin Ward Jr.  The video clear shows that Kevin Ward Jr. is signaling 'waving' and or 'pointing' at or toward Stewart's car, in an attempt to get him to slow down or stop...  At this point, Stewart made a choice, to not do so and instead to accelerate and move in the direction of Ward.

The only question for me is "Did Stewart follow track or race rules under the caution?"  If he did, then it is legal 'within a race' to cause and accident, then kill a driver exiting a vehicle in pursuit of your own win...  I would argue that Stewart 'broke' the track rules intended to keep drivers exiting dangerous situations safe, and that breaking this rule at this time was in fact a criminal act, and these actions led to another racer's death.

Sadly, I believe that when you have enough money, your freedom from a criminal can be bought.  In this case, Tony Stewart will not be charged, even if he has shown a pattern of violence toward other drivers, and a disregard for race rules intended to keep everyone safe, and who's action in fact killed Kevin Ward Jr.

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