‘Love You Baby’: Cleveland Browns’ Chris Smith Pays Emotional Tribute to Girlfriend Killed by Car

By Victor Westerkamp

Cleveland Browns Chris Smith posted an emotional tribute on Instagram on Sept. 15 to his girlfriend who was killed in a car crash Sept. 11.

“God has a plan for all of us we can’t understand, but she is in a better place now, and she can rest easy. My wifey, my best friend, and the mother of my beautiful daughter. Love you baby #StayStrong #RIPMyLove”

The Instagram post showed photos of Smith together with his girlfriend 26-year-old Petara Cordero who had given birth to their daughter Haven Harris just weeks earlier.

Petara Cordero holds their newborn daughter Haven Harris Smith
Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith’s girlfriend Petara Cordero holds their newborn daughter Haven Harris Smith. (Courtesy of Chris Smith/Instagram)

The driver of the car that struck and killed Petara was identified as 47-year-old Tracy McIvor, according to BET.com. McIvor came from the opposite direction striking Cordero after Cordero exited from the passenger side of the car. Patara was rushed to Fairview Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Smith was unharmed.

McIvor admitted she had some drinks before the crash happened. She underwent some tests to determine her alcohol level, but no results have been made public. She was treated at the Fairview Hospital and later released. To date, no charges have been filed against McIvor.

The Browns players were notified during a team meeting. Head coach Freddie Kitchens also visited Smith at his home.

NFL Chris Smith
Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith (50) sits on the sideline during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins in Cleveland on Aug. 8, 2019. (Ron Schwane/AP Photo)

The team owners, Dee and Jimmy Haslam released a statement on the Browns’ website: “Words cannot describe the sorrow we feel for Chris following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara,” “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 Browns will have counselors on site throughout the week to provide emotional support for players and staff.

Mary Cay Cabot of Cleveland.com says Cordero and Smith’s daughter was born four weeks ago. Smith was excused from the Browns’ preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts in August, so he could attend the birth of his daughter.

Smith, 27, was drafted in 2014 by the Jaguars. He has been with the Browns since last year.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith #50 of the Cleveland Browns reacts after making a tackle during the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio on Dec. 23, 2018. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.