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Delaware Will Not Pursue Charges Against Busch

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 5 2015

Kurt Busch got good news from Delware Department of Justice on Thursday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Suspended NASCAR driver Kurt Busch has been cleared of criminal charges of alleged domestic abuse involving a former girlfriend, the result of an investigation by the Delaware Department of Justice.

NASCAR slapped Busch with an indefinite suspension on Feb. 20 in the aftermath of a Delaware family court’s finding that “by a preponderance of the evidence” the 36-year-old driver had “committed an act of domestic violence” against former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last fall at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. At the time Busch had not been charged criminally, pending an investigation by the Delaware Attorney General’s Office dating to early December.

The Delaware Department of Justice addressed the issue in a statement released Thursday morning: “The Delaware Department of Justice has carefully reviewed the complaint made of an alleged act of domestic violence involving Kurt Busch in Dover on Sept. 26, 2014, which was reported to the Dover Police Department on Nov. 5, 2014 and investigated.

“After a thorough consideration of all of the available information about the case, it is determined that the admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime during the Sept. 26 incident. Likelihood of meeting that high burden of proof is the standard for prosecutors in bringing a case. For this reason, the Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges in this case.”

In turn, Busch issued the following statement: “I am grateful that the prosecutors in Delaware listened, carefully considered the evidence, and after a thorough investigation decided to not file criminal charges against me. I wish to thank my family, friends, fans, and race team who stood by me throughout this nightmare with their unwavering support.

“Thanks also goes to my legal team for making sure that the truth got out and was fully provided to the prosecutors. As I have said from the beginning, I did not commit domestic abuse. I look forward to being back in racing as soon as possible and moving on with my life.”

Busch, driver of the No. 41 Chevrolet SS fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing, was suspended by NASCAR prior to the season-opening Daytona 500. The 2004 Cup champion while driving for Roush Fenway Racing, Busch enrolled in a “reinstatement program” stipulated by NASCAR earlier this week.

“NASCAR is aware of the Delaware Department of Justice announcement today regarding driver Kurt Busch,” the sanctioning body said in a statement released last Thursday afternoon. “As we disclosed Monday, he has accepted the terms and conditions of a reinstatement program and is actively participating in the program. Kurt Busch’s eligibility for reinstatement will continue to be governed by that program and the NASCAR Rule Book, though the elimination of the possibility of criminal charges certainly removes a significant impediment to his reinstatement.”

Busch remains under a restraining order issued by Kent County (Del.) Court Commissioner David Jones, Racer.com reported. For the next year Busch is required to stay 100 yards away from Driscoll except “at NASCAR races and related events where closer proximity is required” for Busch to “perform his duties as a driver or sponsored athlete.”

Busch also is prohibited from buying or possessing firearms or ammunition for the next year. Additionally, Busch must be evaluated for “mental health problems related to anger control and impulse control.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 5 2015
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