Nascar star Stewart accused after hitting and killing rival

Nascar driver  Tony Stewart

Tony Stewart ran down Kevin Ward Jr after he stepped onto track to confront the driver

LAST UPDATED AT 13:27 ON Mon 11 Aug 2014

Nascar champion Tony Stewart has been questioned by police after hitting and killing a fellow driver who was remonstrating with him at a meeting in Rochester, New York.

The 43-year-old was taking part in a dirt-track sprint car race when he collided with another vehicle driven by Kevin Ward Jr on Saturday night. Ward Jr clambered out of his car, apparently unharmed, and began gesticulating towards Stewart as he completed the next lap.

However, as he strode out into the track, Stewart appeared to "fishtail" and ended up hitting the 20-year-old, sending him flying 15 metres down the circuit. Stewards were on the scene within seconds but the young driver was later  pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Video of the crash was posted online after the incident and shows Ward Jr walking out onto the track and pointing towards other cars before being struck.

Philip Povero, sheriff of Ontario County, said Stewart had been questioned and released. He said the investigation was not criminal and that Stewart was "fully cooperative" and "very upset" about the incident.

"Some spectators present at Canandaigua on Saturday night said Stewart appeared to aim for Ward, after the young driver strode across the track apparently to confront him over their crash," reports The Guardian. "[Other] witnesses said Stewart's car appeared to go into a 'fishtail' skid before hitting Ward."

In a statement, Ward Jr's family asked for "time to greive", but the Daily Mail reports that his aunt, Wendi Ward, posted a message on Facebook branding Stewart a "dick". Other members of the family posted tributes to the young driver.

Stewart later withdrew from a Nascar race at the nearby circuit of Watkin Glen on Sunday. In a statement he said: "There aren't words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr · 

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