The woman who struck and killed the girlfriend of Browns defensive end Chris Smith in a tragic car accident told police she had been drinking.
Petara Cordero was struck by the car on the I-90 in Cleveland on Wednesday morning after Smith pulled over to the median to change a tire on his Lamborghini.
Cordero and Smith, 27, had been driving down the highway when the NFL star’s Lamborghini suffered a tire malfunction and sent the car spinning out of control into a median near the West 140th Street exit.
Unharmed in the crash, Cordero stepped out of the passenger-side door, at the median, where she was suddenly hit by a Mazda coming from the opposite direction.
The 26-year-old was taken to Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital but tragically she was pronounced dead a short while after.
Browns players have since rallied around Smith – who is ‘a team favorite’ and a ‘big brother figure’ to some – and Cleveland.com reported that teammates, including Baker Mayfield, visited him throughout the day.
It was also reported that one of his best friends, nose tackle Javon Hargrave of the Steelers, planned to support Smith on Thursday.
Petara Cordero, 26, was fatally struck by an oncoming vehicle after exiting Smith’s Lamborghini on I-90 West in Cleveland
Cordero and Smith, 27, had been driving when the NFL star’s Lamborghini had a tire malfunction which sent the car spinning out of control and into the median ear the West 140th Street exit
‘Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel for Chris following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara,’ said Cleveland Brown owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam in a statement, revealing Cordero’s death.
‘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.’
The female driver of the Mazda admitted to authorities that she had been drinking prior to the accident, News 5 Cleveland reports.
Charges have not been filed as toxicology reports are currently pending.
Smith, however, was not impaired at the time of the fateful crash, officers confirmed.
Cordero had stepped out of the car, at the median, without suffering serious injuries, when she was hit by a Mazda coming from the opposite direction
Cordero’s tragic death comes less than a month after she and Smith celebrated the birth of their daughter, Haven Harris Smith.
The couple announced Haven’s birth in a series of heartfelt Instagram posts.
‘I’m so thankful to have another beautiful gift in this world my daughter Haven Harris Smith,’ the defensive end said on August 27. ‘You are such a blessing to me and your mother!! Love you Petara and Baby Have.’
Cordeo also shared photos of their baby girl, saying ‘This little girl has filled my heart with so much joy and love !! I’m so thankful that God chose me to be her mommy!! So excited for this life journey with you!!!’
Browns players were notified of Cordero’s death during a team meeting on Wednesday morning and counselors will be on site to help staff and players in need, WJW reports.
‘Smith will receive the full team’s support of resources and will have the opportunity to grieve as he sees best fit, including being excused from or participating in any team activities, if desired,’ a representative from the Browns said.
Cordero and Smith recently celebrated the birth of their daughter, Haven Harris Smith, on August 27
Cordeo shared photos of their baby girl, saying ‘This little girl has filled my heart with so much joy and love !! I’m so thankful that God chose me to be her mommy!! So excited for this life journey with you!!!’
Cordero was taken to Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital where she was pronounced dead
Just days before her death, the first-time mom posted a photograph of Smith kissing her on the forehead, saying, ‘This is a forever thing, I love you through everything.’
Since the news of her death became public knowledge on Wednesday afternoon, friends and family members flocked to Facebook to pay tribute to Cordero.
‘I love you beautiful you will forever be missed I cant believe this,’ Cordero’s brother wrote in a post accompanied by a gallery of image. ‘I cant believe I even got that call. I cant believe I’m even writing this. Rest in heaven baby sis I love you!
Other friends remember Cordero as a ‘special person’ and ‘beautiful soul’.
‘I can’t believe I’m seeing this,’ friend Kassandra Blaire said. ‘My heart hurts. Your amazing smile, your sweet soul, and that laugh all of us SW Wild Wing fam WILL never forget. I just pray for strength for your family, and that sweet babygirl you just had. I can’t wrap my head around this. Gone way too soon. Fly high babygirl.’