(Editor's Note: We apologize for this story in advance. Subscription cancellations should be directed to our circulation department, although they have quit in protest, so be patient until we replace them)
BEAUFORT, N.C. -- NASCAR driver Tony Stewart struck and killed a 92-year-old great-grandmother of 14 in the parking lot of a Piggly Wiggly in North Carolina Sunday, apparently after the woman made an obscene gesture to him while he was doing doughnuts in his racing car.
Agnes Schmertz, a retired church secretary, was wheeling her grocery cart back to a senior citizen transportation van when Stewart squealed his tires as he accelerated while driving in a tight circle near the woman, according to initial witness accounts from other senior citizens.
Schmertz was startled, threw up her middle finger and then clenched her fists while assuming a fighting stance, said witnesses. Stewart, who was waiting for a friend making a beer run in Piggly Wiggly before heading to a promotional event for a county fair demolition derby he was competing in, revved his engine, headed toward Schmertz in his number 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, then clipped the woman, throwing her 50 feet where she landed in a meat department dumpster, witnesses stated.
Unfortunately, when authorities arrived, the witnesses had fallen asleep in the van, and the store's exterior surveillance camera had malfunctioned, apparently because someone had struck it with a tire iron.
"I was just trying to throw a little scare into her, but apparently her reflexes weren't what they used to be and she froze," Stewart reportedly told authorities.
With no conscious witnesses, and little hope that they would be awake until the next morning, authorities said they could find no evidence that Stewart was guilty of any wrongdoing, since doing doughnuts in a parking lot of a Piggly Wiggly is not against the law and is in fact a sacred tradition. Stewart signed autographs for local sheriff's deputies and had his photograph taken with the Piggly Wiggly store manager as a coroner's van hauled Schmertz's body away.
"This was a terrible accident that I regret deeply but I think it clearly indicates that hot-headed old people should have someone younger and calmer do their shopping for them," Stewart said in a media release. "And nobody -- and I mean nobody -- takes up a fighting stance against me and lives to tell about it."