Tragedy struck the Cleveland Browns family on Wednesday morning as the girlfriend of Chris Smith, Petara Cordero, was killed in an auto accident. According to Cleveland.com, the accident occurred early Wednesday morning on I-90 in Cleveland. The team released a statement on Wednesday, providing details about the incident.
Cordero and Smith had pulled over to the side of the highway after Smith’s vehicle had a tire malfunction. This resulted in a one-car accident as the vehicle entered a spin and hit the median. Cordero exited the car without significant injuries and was struck by an oncoming vehicle.
Cleveland Police and paramedics arrived on the scene after the incident occurred. Per a report by the Cleveland Police, Smith was not impaired at the time of the incident.
“Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel for Chris following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara.”September 11, 2019
“Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel for Chris following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara,” Dee and Jimmy Haslam, owners of the Browns, said in a statement. “Our entire organization mourns with Chris, his family, and the Cordero family. We will do everything possible to offer them our support, comfort and any resources in this most difficult time.”
Smith and Cordero recently had their daughter, Haven, four weeks prior to the accident. The team excused Smith from the preseason battle between the Browns and the Indianapolis Colts in order for him to attend the birth.
Smith's teammates were informed of the tragic event during a meeting on Wednesday. Head coach Freddie Kitchens visited Smith at his home earlier in the day. At this point in time, the Browns will give Smith every opportunity to grieve as he sees fit, which can include being excused from or participating in team activities.
Part of the support will include the use of all in-house resources that are provided by the team. Additionally, the Browns will be bringing in counselors throughout the week to provide emotional support to Smith or any other players that were affected.
Smith came to the Browns after three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and one with the Cincinnati Bengals. The former fifth-round pick in 2014 started two of the 16 games in which he appeared during the 2018 season, tallying 21 combined tackles, one sack, two passes defensed, and a forced fumble.