Rickey E. Smith Jr., a Season 2 finalist on Fox’s American Idol, was killed in a wrong-way crash on an Oklahoma highway early Friday.
Acccording to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and local media reports, Smith was driving eastbound on Interstate 240 just outside of Oklahoma City at about 3 AM when he was hit head-on by a pick-up truck heading westbound. The 36-year-old Smith died at the scene.
Smith, an Oklahoma native, was honored by the state in 2003 for his performance on American Idol. “You bring pride to Oklahoma, you bring recognition to Oklahoma we’re excited for your achievements,” said then secretary of state Susan Savage, Fox25 reports.
Smith finished in eighth place in Season 2, the year Ruben Stoddard won. Smith is the third American Idol contestant to die. Season 7 finalist Michael Johns died in August 2014 of natural causes. Season 3 semi-finalist Marque “Tate” Lynche was found dead in his New York apartment in December 2015. A coroner’s report later determined Lynche died of alcoholism.