American Idol Contestant, Haley Smith, 26, Dies After Motorcycle Crash

By Mimi Nguyen Ly

Haley Smith, a onetime contestant on “American Idol” who left an impression on judges in Season 11 of the show, has died in a motorcycle accident in Maine this weekend, according to reports.

Smith died in Millinocket in a single-vehicle accident, according to celebrity news website TMZ, which was first to report the tragedy.

Her father, Mike Smith, told TMZ that he thinks a deer might have derailed his daughter while she was riding her bike on a country road. He also implied that she wouldn’t have just lost control of her bike alone because she was a skilled rider.

In a statement to entertainment news outlet Variety, the Millinocket Police Department said authorities responded to the crash at 2 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, and pronounced Haley Smith dead at the scene.

“It would appear initially that she failed to negotiate a sharp turn and crashed,” the statement read.

An investigation into the accident is pending, the outlet reported.

According to TMZ, Smith was going to turn 27 within months and was planning on celebrating it in November.

“We are sorry to hear of the passing of Haley Smith and our thoughts and prayers are with her family,” American Idol wrote on Twitter late Tuesday.

Smith auditioned for the talent show in 2012 in Colorado with her performance of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good.” At the time, she was 18 years old. While she did not pass the second round of Season 11, her audition had struck a chord with the judges.

Steven Tyler, a judge on the show at the time, told Smith, “I love your voice so much. You’re right out of my era and I’m honored to be here listening to your voice.”

A few messages of condolences have been sent to the latest American Idol tweet as well as the comment section of American Idol’s YouTube video of Smith’s audition.

“What a pretty voice and woman and spirit so said we don’t get to hear more. Rest in peace,” one YouTube user commented.

“She was such a sweet, young soul, and talented too. R.I.P.,” another wrote.

Motorcycle Crashes in the United States

A total of 5,172 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

Analysis of the system’s data by the independent nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that the number of motorcyclist deaths started to increase in 1998 and continued to do so through 2008. Such deaths make up 14 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2017.

Of the motorcyclist deaths in 2017, 38 percent were single-vehicle crashes while the rest (62 percent) were multiple-vehicle crashes.