Kurt Busch Indefinitely Suspended; Court Rules He 'Likely' Attacked Ex

Illustration for article titled Kurt Busch Indefinitely Suspended; Court Rules He Likely Attacked Ex

A Delaware court today concluded that embattled NASCAR driver Kurt Busch "more likely than not" strangled his ex-girlfriend and smashed her head against a wall last year. The driver has also been suspended indefinitely from racing.

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ESPN reports that a Kent County, Delaware family court commissioner found it is likely "by a preponderance of the evidence" that Busch attacked ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll during a September race weekend at Dover International Speedway, strangling her and smashing her head against a wall during an argument in his motor home. The commissioner will require Busch to undergo mental health evaluations.

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While the Delaware attorney general's office is still deciding whether to file criminal charges against Busch, racing officials acted swiftly in suspending Busch indefinitely.

That news broke recently and no details about it are immediately available. Busch was scheduled to start in the 24th position at this weekend's Daytona 500, the sport's flagship race.

The court's ruling and Busch's subsequent suspension is the latest development in a domestic violence case that took a turn for the bizarre during hearings where Driscoll sought a protective order. There, Busch insisted Driscoll was a trained assassin. The court commissioner sided with Driscoll instead. From ESPN's report:

In his opinion released Friday, Jones wrote that Driscoll's version of the events that night was more credible, citing, among other things, her demeanor when she recalled and described the events of that night.

"[Busch's] version of the events is implausible, does not make sense and is unlikely to be true given the totality of the other evidence admitted at trial," Jones wrote.

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Update: And here's the statement from NASCAR, which said Busch was suspended for "actions detrimental to stock car racing" and the organization's "behavioral penalty."

"Given the serious nature of the findings and conclusions made by the Commissioner of the Family Court of the State of Delaware, NASCAR has indefinitely suspended driver Kurt Busch, effective immediately. He will not be allowed to race nor participate in any NASCAR activities until further notice.

"Kurt Busch and his Stewart-Haas Racing team are fully aware of our position and why this decision was made. We will continue to respect the process and timetable of the authorities involved."

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This story and headline have been updated to be more clear on the judge's ruling in the case, which said Busch "more likely than not" committed an act of abuse against his former girlfriend.

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DISCUSSION

justinleedy
justinleedy

Patrick, come on now lets have accuracy here. The Judge didn't convict or say Kurt did it, only that it "seems likely he did". no charges have even been filed as of yet. I would never have thought i would defend Kurt at all, but i think this is all a little ahead of itself, which is why i think Nascar is jumping on it. the more i read of this judge the more i wonder about his decision.

to me this statement just sounds odd to me

Jones ultimately sided with Driscoll in the he-said, she-said case, citing her credibility and demeanor while testifying.

He wrote the "most troubling issue regarding (Driscoll's) credibility…involves the allegation that (Driscoll) falsely testified" that Motor Racing Outreach pastor Nick Terry told her in a phone conversation that Busch's lawyers "had offered him financial assistance in an effort to secure his testimony, which she characterized as an attempt to bribe Mr. Terry."

But Terry testified at the hearing, which lasted four days stretched over two months, he had not been offered financial assistance.

Jones wrote he decided to "disregard" Driscoll's false testimony because it did not rise to the level "where the balance of her testimony cannot be trusted ... as the Court finds that the balance of her trial testimony is sufficiently corroborated by other credible evidence."

this was the official decision.

The court is satisfied that the evidence presented at trial established that it is more likely than not that on September 26, 2014, Respondent committed an act of abuse against Petitioner by manually strangling Petitioner with his left hand on her throat while placing his right hand against her chin and face, causing her head to forcefully strike the interior wall of Respondent's motor home, thereby recklessly causing physical injury to Petitioner and recklessly placing Petitioner in reasonable apprehension of physical injury. The Court further finds that Respondent's actions on that occasion constituted conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening or harmful.