Rickey Smith Dead: American Idol Alum Killed by Alleged Drunk Driver in Early Morning Crash – People Magazine

05/06/2016 AT 01:35 PM EDT

American Idol finalist Rickey Smith has actually died in an Oklahoma auto crash. He was 36.

Smith, that was featured on the show’s second season, was killed early Friday morning in a wrong-method wreck by an allegedly drunk driver, NewsOK and KOCO report.

Smith was taking a trip on the I-240 freeway outside of Oklahoma City simply after 3 a.m. as soon as one more driver, identified by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol as Gerardo Cerda Jr., collided head-on along with Smith’s Honda Accord. Cerda, 27, that was taking a trip west in the eastbound lane in a GMC pickup truck, was treated at a neighborhood hospital complying with the crash. He was taken in to custody after members of the patrol detected an odor of alcohol in Cerda’s truck.

Both Smith and Cerda were using seatbelts at the moment of the crash, which remains under investigation.

Smith took eighth position in 2003, behind Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Kimberley Locke and Kim Caldwell.

“Suffice it to say my heart is actually breaking today,” Aiken Tweeted Friday afternoon. “Heaven’s choir has actually a Brand-new beautiful voice. I enjoy you and will certainly skip you, Rickey.”

“…I sit listed here in utter disbelief concerning the reality that you went to be along with the Lord. I believe spine on every one of the enjoyable times we had. exactly how we established for hrs in our area in the Idol mansion talking and listening to music. exactly how a lot enjoyable we every one of had on our quite very first tour,” Studdard reminisced on Instagram.

“You were the heart of our season and the real definition of a genuine friend. I will certainly skip you my friend RIP Ricky Smith. I’m sure you’re in heaven singing your heart out!!!”

Writes Caldwell, “My heart is broken that we lost my dear angel Rickey. He was one-of-kind. I have actually never ever met any person that could brighten your globe enjoy he did. I was so fortunate to discuss the moment we had with each other on Idol and on tour. I will certainly cherish those memories. He earned every person about him or her feel so special and loved and my heart sincerely goes out to his family. He was a shining light and he will certainly be missed tremendously. #season2″

“Terribly #sad today,” Locke Tweeted. “The @AmericanIdol family has actually went through a terrific loss. #RIPRickeySmith”

After his time on Idol, the singer stayed in Los Angeles in hopes of launching a music career.

“I virtually had an album,” Smith previously told USA Today in 2008. “I had some excellent individuals about me.”

Though Smith didn’t tackle the music industry enjoy he would’ve liked to, he accepted that he had moved on … reluctantly.

“I wasn’t prepared to accept the reality that I had to return and offer up music,” Smith said. “I’ve earned peace along with it, yet it’s still frustrating.”

A memorial fund has been established for Smith, that leaves behind two children.