Monday, February 16, 2015

Patricia Driscoll granted protective order against NASCAR driver Kurt Busch

   Patricia Driscoll has been granted a protective order by a Kent County (Del.) Family Court judge, ordering NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch to stay away and not communicate with his ex-girlfriend.

   In the order, a copy of which has been obtained by The Observer, the court makes the following declaration:

   "The Court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the Respondent has committed an act or repeated acts of domestic violence against the Petitioner."

   Among the restrictions placed on Busch by the order:

   - Busch cannot threaten, molest, attack, harass or commit any other act of abuse against Driscoll and any minor children in her household.

   - Busch cannot come with 100 yards of Driscoll's person, residence or workplace. At NASCAR races, Busch must maintain a "practicable distance" from Driscoll if both are in attendance.

   - Busch cannot attempt to contact Driscoll in any way.

   - Busch must be evaluated for "mental health problems" and follow any recommendations by the evaluator.

   Busch's attorney, Rusty Hardin, provided the following statement to The Observer: 

   “Though we are not surprised by the Commissioner’s ruling, in light of the restrictions on the evidence he considered, we are deeply disappointed because we believe the evidence of Ms. Driscoll’s total lack of believability was overwhelming. It is important to note that the Commissioner’s ruling is a civil family court matter and totally unconnected to any criminal investigation or finding.

   “Regardless of the Commissioner’s finding, we know that Kurt never committed an act of family violence. The evidence was un-contradicted that Ms. Driscoll committed the criminal offense of trespass when she entered his motor home at night, while he was sleeping, uninvited, without permission,  and refused to leave when he repeatedly asked her to get out. Mr. Busch’s conduct was totally reasonable and legal under the circumstances. He never intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused her any injury. 

   “We intend to appeal the Commissioner’s ruling and will seek to persuade the family court judge hearing the appeal to consider new and previously unknown evidence from various people that have come forward since the conclusion of the hearing before the Commissioner.  We have provided this additional evidence challenging Ms. Driscoll’s testimony and credibility to the Attorney General’s office for their criminal investigation, and we hope to persuade the family court judge to consider the same evidence.”

   NASCAR officials did not have an immediate response by expected to release a statement sometime on Monday. 

   The order from the family court was issued Monday and a notice that supplemental details and the opinion supporting Commissioner David Jones's order would be released Friday, two days before Busch is scheduled to compete in the 2015 season-opening Daytona 500.

   Driscoll filed a domestic assault claim Nov. 5 against Busch at the Dover (Del.) Police Department, nearly six weeks after the time of the incident, which allegedly took place during the September NASCAR race weekend in Dover.

   Dover police concluded that investigation just before Christmas and forwarded the case file to the Delaware attorney general's office, which has yet to decide whether to file charges. Driscoll also filed for the protective order in November.

   The hearing, however, lasted four days over two months before the decision was finally issued on Monday. Driscoll testified in the protective order hearing that Busch had slammed her head three times against the wall of his motor home on Sept. 26 after she visited him at his motorhome in Dover. Busch denied the allegations.

Candlelight tribute for the late Dale Earnhardt set for Wednesday at DEI

   On Wednesday, race fans can honor the life of the late Dale Earnhardt during the annual candlelight tribute, which has been held on the grounds of Dale Earnhardt Inc. every year since 2001 in coordination with the Dale Earnhardt Foundation.

   The seven-time champion of NASCAR's biggest series died in a last-lap wreck in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, 2001.

   From 6 to 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, DEI will be closed and illuminated with candles, and a Guest Book will be available for signing and sharing special memories of Earnhardt. The showroom and store will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

   For more information on the work of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation, go here