Former “American Idol” finalist Rickey Smith has died in a car accident.
The singer was 36 and would have turned 37 on his birthday May 10.
Smith, who appeared on season two of the long-running Fox competition series, was killed when an alleged drunk driver was headed the wrong way on a freeway outside of Oklahoma City.
According to reports, Smith was wearing his seatbelt when the driver Gerardo Cerda Jr. collided head-on with his Honda Accord. He still didn’t survive the wreck.
Cerda was treated at a local hospital after the crash and then arrested and transported to jail after patrol officers detected the odor of alcohol in his truck.
An “American Idol” fan favorite, the singer endeared fans with his spot-on impersonation of Mama Klump’s famous line “Hercules” line from the Eddie Murphy film “The Nutty Professor.” He left the show in eighth place.
After completing the “American Idol Live” tour following his season in 2003, Smith toured with season two winner Ruben Studdard as a background vocalist.
Smith had returned to his hometown of Oklahoma City in 2008, leaving Los Angeles five years after his season on “American Idol.”
Despite several “American Idol” all-star tours, festival appearances and some work in theatrical productions, Smith was never able to accomplish his dreams in music.
“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,” he said in a 2008 USA Today interview.