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Sheriff news conference details Stewart incident

August 10, 2014, Staff report,

Ontario County (New York) Sheriff Philip C. Povero on events at Canandaigua Motorsports Park

RELATED: Complete coverage of Tony Stewart incident

On Saturday night, Ontario County (New York) Sheriff Philip C. Povero discussed the events on Saturday night at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. Watch the news conference below and read the sheriff's statement and answers to media questions.

At 10:30 p.m. on August 9, Saturday night, at the Canandaigua Motorsports Park during the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints, there was a on-track incident at the end of Turn 2. One car crashed against the wall. The driver of that sprint car exited the car, walked into the track, came down into the racing area. This is while the race was under a yellow flag. A first sprint car swerved to avoid the driver of the car that had walked down into the track. A second sprint car, operated by driver Tony Stewart, age 43 of Columbus, Indiana, struck the operator of the sprint car that was on the track. This was on Lap 14 of the 25-lap race, and this is a half-mile track. The operator of the car that was struck was transported to Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua by ambulance. At the hospital, the operator was pronounced dead on arrival by Ontario County Coroner Kevin Henderson. An autopsy has been ordered to be completed on the victim of the crash. At this time at the request of the parents of the deceased driver, we are not releasing the name or any specific information of the driver, per their request as they are attempting to locate and notify other family members. This is an ongoing investigation, and we will continue to review video and other evidence as well as conduct interviews and also wait for the results of the autopsy.

Tony Stewart has cooperated with the investigators. He is believed to be back in Watkins Glen at this time. Mr. Stewart has again fully cooperated with the police officers that are investigating. He was visibly shaken by this incident and has promised his continuing cooperation in this investigation.

Right now, this is an on-track crash investigation that we will continue. We have -- and not to make any inferences one way or another -- but the district attorney's office has been notified. When this investigation is completed, we will review it with them. But I do want to caution so that there's no inferences drawn. At this time, this is an ongoing investigation of an on-track crash.

There are no charges pending at this time. Again, this is right now being investigated as an on-track crash, and I don't want to infer that there are criminal charges pending. I would only say that the investigation, when it's completed, we will sit down the with the district attorney and review it. But I want to make it very clear there are no criminal charges pending at this time, and this an ongoing investigation.

No, we're going to again make sure all witnesses that we can identify are interviewed. Again we're trying to analyze video that we have as meticulously as possible. We'll also rely on evidence that has been gathered through the results of an autopsy. And again I want to clearly state that Mr. Stewart has been fully cooperative. He has given his account of the events to the police officers. He is extremely upset with this crash and has confirmed his continued cooperation in this investigation.

At this point, the specifics of his statement are evidentiary in nature, and again, I just mean that from an investigatory standpoint. Not to get into specifics, but he did acknowledged that there was an on-track collision with his car and the deceased driver. I want to make it, again, clear that any death investigation in the normal course of it, we would have a review by the district attorney. And I want to make it very clear as I know there's going to be speculation and I don't want things taken out of context. I want to make it very clear that this investigation, as in any death investigation, we are going to sit down with the district attorney and his staff and review it when the investigation is complete. And we're not making any inferences of any criminal conduct at all.

The people that witnessed it were horrified. They were extremely shocked by what they saw. And I think it was extremely appropriate that the race be cancelled at the time it was. The people at Canandaigua have cooperated fully, and we want to make it known that they have expressed their deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased driver and they continue to cooperate fully with the sheriff's office with the investigation.


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