Tony Stewart’s crash that killed another driver, Kevin Ward Jr., will be investigated by law enforcement. A few minutes into the business day and I am already being asked “for what?” While some feel this is an incident for which Mr. Ward waived any civil actions by assuming the risk of death when he exited his vehicle and tried to confront a race car,, there are others that want our government to investigate all incidents of death with an eye towards prosecution.
What then could be the outcome of said investigation of Tony Stewart? A close look at the video shows that the vehicle fishtailed. If there were evidence of intent to strike the pedestrian, then Mr. Stewart could be charged with Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon. Some people are surprised to learn that vehicles are deadly weapons when used as a weapon. Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon is a second degree felony in Florida.
Another possible charge would be Vehicular Homicide. Vehicular Homicide is when a person operates a vehicle in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another and then does cause a death in a traffic crash. While it may be true that racing is reckless per se in Florida, I do not think the fact that the death occurred in this race will meet the reckless requirement. However, if there is evidence of intent then that could meet the reckless requirements.
We have to also consider that this could have been an accident and Mr. Stewart was trying to avoid the fatal impact. If there was no intent, then the State could charge a civil traffic ticket case of careless driving with a death. While there would be no incarceration possible in a traffic ticket case, there would be a mandatory driver license suspension.
All death cases are serious cases but just because somebody died does not mean the government can prove guilt. The question is always causation and not the resulting death because the result is always death in death cases. No person should face the government alone. If you or a loved one is under investigation or has been accused of any traffic accident causing a death, then please click call or fill out the form for a consultation.
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