The investigation into the death of Kevin Ward moves into a new phase today.

District Attorney Michael Tantillo has announced on Tuesday afternoon that he will submit evidence from the Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. case to a grand jury “in the near future.”

NBC News reports that Tantillo issued this statement:

“Over the past several weeks, I have reviewed with members of the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department their investigation, as it progressed, in the Tony Stewart matter. Recently, that office concluded its work and forwarded the complete case file to me.

 

Upon my review of all of the information contained in the entire investigation, I have made the determination that it would be appropriate to submit the evidence to a grand jury, for their determination as to what action should be taken in this matter. Accordingly, the evidence developed in the investigation will be presented to an Ontario County grand jury in the near future.

 

As grand jury proceedings in New York State are strictly confidential by law, I am unable to state when the matter will be scheduled, other than to state that I intend to present the matter in the near future. Similarly, because of the confidential nature of these proceedings, I cannot state who will be called as witnesses, or what any witness’s expected testimony will be.

 

When the presentation has been completed and a determination has been made, I will advise the public and the media at that time of the results.”

 

As you'll recall on Thursday the county’s Sheriff’s office announced the investigation was complete and submitted to the D.A.’s office for review.

It is important to keep in mind that a decision to forward evidence from the case to a grand jury does not necessarily mean that Stewart will face an indictment.

Kevin Ward was struck and killed by Stewart’s car during a sprint car event on Aug. 9 at Canandaigua, NY Motorsports Park.

Within minutes of Tantillo’s statement today, Stewart issued his own statement:

“I respect the time and effort spent by both the Ontario County District Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office in investigating this tragic accident. I look forward to this process being completed, and I will continue to provide my full cooperation.”

Also issuing a statement this afternoon was NASCAR, through its chief communications officer, Brett Jewkes:

NASCAR spokesman Brett Jewkes said "It would be inappropriate for NASCAR to comment on this case so we will continue to respect the process and authorities involved.”