This week the world was shocked to learn that Rickey Smith, past American Idol finalist died in a tragic car accident. Smith competed in the second season of American Idol in 2003, finishing in eight place, but he tried to get his career started by staying in Los Angeles.
“I almost had an album. I had some good people around me,” Smith told USA Today in 2008. “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.” After his unsuccessful try at music, Rickey worked as a teacher.
According to police reports, Smith was killed by a drunk driver in a multi-car highway crash in Oklahoma at 3AM on Friday morning. The crash occurred on the I-240 highway, where Smith was driving his car. He was hit by the drunk driver and slammed his vehicle head-on. The driver who hit him is identified as 27-year old Gerardo Cerda Jr. He survived and was transferred to a hospital, and has been booked on drunk driving charges.
Smith was 36 at the time of his death. “Suffice it to say my heart is truly breaking today,” Clay Aiken, one of Smith’s rivals on American Idol tweeted. “Heaven’s choir has a new beautiful voice. I love you and will miss you, Rickey.”