Former American Idol finalist Rickey Smith killed in a head-on crash by drunk driver

Former American Idol finalist Rickey Smith was killed in a multi-car highway crash in Oklahoma  in the early hours of Friday morning after a truck driver slammed into him.

Smith’s car was struck while driving on the I-240 after a man driving the wrong way on the interstate crashed into the vehicle head-on, according toTMZ.

Smith, 36, who was driving a Honda Accord, was killed in the crash which happened at around 3 am Friday.

Former American Idol finalist Rickey Smith (pictured) was killed in a multi-car highway crash in Oklahoma in the early hours of Friday morning

The driver of the truck survived and was taken to an area hospital, officials said.

Gerardo Cerda Jr., 27, has been identified as the man driving the truck and was booked for driving under the influence, according to KOCO.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers told the site there was a clear odor of alcohol on Cerda, who was taken to custody following his hospital treatment but has not yet been booked into the Oklahoma County Jail.

Seat belts were in use in both vehicles involved, said News OK.

The fatal crash, which happened just west of S Walker Avenue in the eastbound lanes of I-240, remains under investigation.

Smith competed on the second season of American Idol in 2003 and finished in eighth place. Ruben Studdard took the title that year.

He was well-known for his performance of What the World Now Needs Is Love and was compared to R&B great Brian McKnight.

Smith remained in LA for several years following the end of the series in the hopes of launching a music career.

Speaking in a 2008 interview, he told USA Today: ‘I almost had an album. I had some good people around me.

‘I wasn’t ready to accept the fact that I had to come back and give up music. I’ve made peace with it, but it’s still frustrating.’


The Texan born singer reportedly worked as a teacher before appearing on the show and was eliminated from the popular Fox show in week eight.

According to Buddy TV, he started singing when he was only five years old, but began to take it more seriously when he was 18 and majored in Performance at Southwestern Adventist University.

Tributes have been pouring in on social media for the singer with many expressing shock at his sudden and tragic death.

Tweeter Liz Imbrie commented: ‘Oh, no! I met him once: kind, funny, gentle soul with a wonderful voice. Rest well, #RickeySmith’

While a tweeter that goes by the name of Dj Lil Smurf wrote: ‘RIP to my good friend and season 2 American Idol finalist Rickey Smith killed by a drunk driver this morning.’

And fellow American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken said: ‘Suffice it to say my heart is truly breaking today. Heaven’s choir has a new beautiful voice. I love you and will miss you, Rickey.’

Source: The DailyMail

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