NEW YORK (ABC) – The parents of the late race car driver Kevin Ward, Jr. spoke for the first time since he was killed last year during a race in Upstate New York.
To many people Tony Stewart is one of racing’s greats. But to Pam and Kevin Ward, he’s the man who killed their only son.
“There’s no amount of money that can bring your son back,” Pam said. “We want justice for our son. That’s what we want.”
It was just over one year ago when 20-year-old Ward went to a track in Upstate New York to race and never made it out alive.
“He just – he had a huge heart, you know,” Pam said. “He was a great kid.”
Ward’s dad got emotional as he recalled that when his son was 10-years old, he asked his dad if he could help a fellow, less fortunate competitor.
“He said, ‘Dad, can I have the new tires?’” Kevin recalled. “I said, ‘Why do you want new tires?’ And he told me that the young lad who got second would’ve beat him if he had new tires. It’s pretty hard.”
On August 9, 2014, Ward was racing when his car was hit by Stewart’s sending Ward’s car into the wall. Ward got out of his car to apparently confront Stewart. That’s when Stewart fatally hit him.
“I wish he wouldn’t have gotten outta the car,” Pam said. “But if Tony woulda stayed low on the track and not gunned his engine and headed for my son, my son would still be here.”
After Ward’s death, a grand jury decided not to file criminal charges against Stewart. One of the facts that emerged was a toxicology report showing Ward had trace amounts of marijuana in his system on that fatal night.
“I do not believe my son was impaired,” Pam said.
The family is now filing a civil suit against Stewart.
“We want him accountable,” Pam said. “The civil suit is the only action we have left.”
Pam and Kevin Ward said they think Stewart killed their son and got away with it.
“Tony races ever weekend,” Kevin said. “Well, I know my son will never get to race again.”
According to the lawsuit, the family alleges that Stewart acted “recklessly,” “purposefully gunning his engine while under a caution.”
“[You] can hear the acceleration in the tape,” Pam said. “And that is Tony’s car that’s accelerating, and you can see where he slides his car sideways and hits my son. And kills him.”
“There’s no doubt,” Kevin said. “He knew what he was doing, and it was Tony’s car that revved that motor.”
But the Wards do not believe Stewart intentionally meant to kill their son.
“I don’t feel Tony meant to kill my son,” Pam said. “But his actions killed my son. I think he lost my temper.”
What do the Wards want Stewart to know?
“That he took a very, very big part of my family’s life,” Kevin said.