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Tony Stewart, family of Kevin Ward Jr. agree to settle wrongful death lawsuit

Kevin Ward Jr. (left) and Tony Stewart (right) Photo: SBG/AP

Tony Stewart and the parents of Kevin Ward Jr. have agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family against the former NASCAR star for his role in the death of their son.

Minor stipulations remain to be settled and details of the agreement were not divulged at Thursday's hearing in federal court before Judge David Hurd. A jury trial had been set to begin May 7.

Hurd said the case would be dismissed once procedures regarding the estate of the victim were finalized. Stewart declined comment afterward, as did the Wards.

News of the settlement agreement broke last week and came just weeks before a scheduled trial for the case, and after several prior failed settlement attempts.

The settlement marks the end of the civil lawsuit that was filed by Ward's family against Stewart in 2015, a year after Ward's death.

Ward was struck and killed by Stewart's vehicle during the Empire Super Sprints race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Aug. 9, 2014. Ward had exited his vehicle after contact between his car and Stewart's sent Ward spinning into the wall at the upstate New York dirt track. Ward appeared to be yelling in the direction of Stewart when he was fatally struck by Stewart's car.

An Ontario County grand jury cleared Stewart of any criminal wrongdoing just a few weeks after the deadly collision. The District Attorney said Ward had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash.

In the lawsuit, Ward's parents claimed the former NASCAR star "could have easily acted reasonably and with prudence to avoid striking Ward, just as all other drivers had done" prior. The lawsuit further alleged Stewart "acted with disregard" to the the 20-year-old driver's life when he accelerated his car, "driving his vehicle in a manner that would terrorize Ward and thereafter strike, severely injure and kill Ward."

The terms of the settlement have been sealed.

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