Attorney for Tony Stewart files paperwork listing potential witnesses in lawsuit
Paperwork filed by Tony Stewart’s attorney Friday lists a number of possible witnesses who could testify in the wrongful death lawsuit Stewart faces and what information they could provide.
The information is a part of request by Stewart’s side to transfer the case from U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York to the federal court overseeing the Western District of New York.
Attorneys for Kevin Ward Jr.’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stewart Aug. 7. Ward died after he climbed from his wrecked sprint car, walked down the track and was struck by Stewart’s car during a race Aug. 9, 2014, at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park.
Stewart’s attorney states that the court in the Western District, located in Rochester, N.Y., is closer to Canandaigua Motorsports Park, and more convenient for non-party witnesses expected to provide testimony.
In the filing, Stewart’s attorney lists individuals expected to be key witnesses in the case. They are:
John Abraham, an investigator for Ontario County (N.Y.), who took Stewart’s statement shortly after the accident.
Brad Falkey, a detective with the Ontario County Sheriff’s office who interviewed Stewart regarding the incident.
Kevin Henderson, Ontario County coroner who performed the autopsy on Ward.
Deputy William Martin of Ontario County Sheriff’s office and is stated as being the lead investigator in the criminal investigation of Ward’s death. (A grand jury did not find reason to charge Stewart last year).
Michael Rago of the Ontario County Sheriff’s office, the first law enforcement official to speak with Stewart regarding the Aug. 9, 2014 incident.
The motion also lists eyewitnesses:
Jeremie Corcoran, owner of Canandaigua Motorsports Park, whose testimony could regard the race and track conditions, as well as the release signed by Ward.
Brian Ennis, Empire Super Sprints technician and flagger, who witnessed the incident and called the caution after Ward’s car spun in Turn 2 and witnessed Ward exit his vehicle and walk down the track.
Chuck Hebing, the driver of the No. 45 car, who was immediately in front of Stewart prior to the accident with Ward and “who narrowly avoided running into Ward Jr. as he walked down the bank of the track into the path of oncoming cars in an apparent attempt to confront one or more drivers regarding his crash.’’ The filing also states that Hebing may also provide testimony regarding the nature or design of the 360 winged sprint car and “the fact that the sprint cars, which Hebing, Ward Jr., and Stewart were driving in the August 9, 2014 race, have a wing configuration that obstructs and limits drivers’ peripheral vision.’'
Dean Reynolds, an executive with the Empire Super Sprints Series is expected to provide testimony regarding the liability releases signed by Ward. Reynolds also was the first person to speak with Stewart following the issuance of the red flag after the incident.
The paperwork also lists other non-party witnesses whose testimony may be pertinent in the matter:
Jimmy Carr, builder of the 360 winged sprint car that Stewart was driving Aug. 9, 2014, who will testify that “there are obstructions to the driver’s peripheral vision in sprint cars generally, including Stewart’s car that limit a driver’s peripheral vision ahead and to the right.’’ He also will testify regarding the subsequent handling of Stewart’s car following the Aug. 9, 2014 race. He was at the track at the time of the accident.
Gary Cooper, an investigator retained by Stewart who will testify regarding analysis of videos of the racing accident, inspection of Stewart’s car and his work to reconstruct the accident, “culminating in his conclusion that Stewart had no opportunity to avoid Ward Jr., under the circumstances and no expectation that a pedestrian would be proceeding down the track into the line of oncoming cars.’'
Chad Johnston, crew chief for Stewart in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, who witnessed the accident.