By Julie Sherwood
CANANDAIGUA — With an unprecedented amount of attention focused on the Tony Stewart investigation, many are eager to know the outcome amid calls by some that politics might play a part in the report's release.
As the probe into the Aug. 9 crash at Canandaigua Motorsports Park drags into its fourth week, the
Ontario County District Attorney’s Office is refusing calls and Ontario County Sheriff Phil Povero said reporter inquiries are coming from as far away as Japan.
“It is international,” Povero said Tuesday. “This investigation has probably garnered the most media attention that the Ontario County Sheriff Office has seen in many, many years.”
The sheriff, who faces his first challenger in Tuesday's Republican primary since being elected 24 years ago, reiterated this week what he said last Friday — the investigation is ongoing and expected to take about another two weeks.
Stewart hit and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. of Port Leyden, Lewis County, when Ward left his sprint car to confront the three-time NASCAR champion after the two made contact moments before during a race.
“It is a thorough process, and we are continuing to evaluate all available information and all the facts that have been determined or are being reviewed by investigators,” Povero said. “We are working with the (Ontario County) District Attorney’s Office to review and analyze as much forensic evidence as possible.”
Some are already drawing conclusions — about whether Stewart will face charges and whether the political race between Povero and his challenger, ex-road patrol deputy Rodney Miller, has any bearing on the investigation.
“Povero is using it as a political tool,” Miller said of the investigation. Miller forced a Republican primary with Povero, a Democrat, who was endorsed by the Ontario County Republican Committee.
Miller said announcing the outcome of the investigation will be timed to give Povero an advantage with voters.
“My gut feeling is it will be announced before the primary election,” Miller said Tuesday.
Jeff Marinelli, an Ontario County resident and Miller supporter, said he thinks the timing of wrapping up the investigation might be politically motivated.
“I can’t think why it is taking so long ... There might be ulterior motives,” he said.
Povero, in a separate interview Tuesday, denied the charges.
“The election has absolutely no bearing on this investigation,” he said.
“The goal of the Sheriff’s Office is to thoroughly investigate this tragedy,” Povero added. “We would go through the same for any investigation at a racetrack or investigation of a death,” he said.
“They are making sure they cover all their bases,” he said.
"Fight for Four".......................me
I # Support Smoke