Petara Cordero, the girlfriend of Browns defensive end Chris Smith, was killed Wednesday morning in a car accident on I-90 West in Cleveland.
Cordero and Smith were pulled over to the side of the highway after Smith’s vehicle had a tire malfunction, resulting in a one-car accident as the vehicle entered a spin and ultimately hit the median. After exiting the car without significant injuries, Cordero was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Cleveland Police and paramedics arrived on scene shortly after the incident.
“Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel for Chris following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara,” Dee and Jimmy Haslam 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.”
According to a police statement, Smith was not impaired.
Browns players were notified of the incident during a team meeting Wednesday morning. Browns coach Freddie Kitchens visited Smith at his home earlier in the day.
In addition to the team’s standard in-house resources, the Browns will have counselors onsite throughout the week to provide emotional support and care to all players and staff.
Smith and Cordero recently celebrated the birth of their daughter, Haven Harris Smith. Smith was excused from the Browns-Colts preseason game so that he was able to attend the birth.
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.