A Wisconsin family is mourning after a mother was shot dead in front of her son in what authorities believe was a road rage incident.
Tracey Smith, 46, of Milwaukee was out driving with her 17-year-old son, teaching him the rules of the road when they were hit by another driver at the intersection of 51st and Capitol Drive last Friday, according to police.
A confrontation ensued and the driver of the other car, later identified as 35-year-old Matthew Wilks, “pulled out a firearm and shot the passenger.” Smith’s son rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Authorities have charged Wilkes with first-degree intentional homicide in the incident.
Smith’s father, Ollie Luckett, was devastated by the news and pointed to the carelessness and road rage exhibited by the other driver.
“I don’t know what to say, but I know one thing,” Luckett told local station WISN 12. “The way my daughter lost her life, it wasn’t right. It ain’t right. It’s ridiculous. My daughter shouldn’t have lost her life like that.”
“What that guy did, he just wanted to kill somebody,” he added.
JoAnn Luckett, the victim’s mother, remembered her daughter as a “wonderful person” with a smile that could light up a room.
“She made a life for her and her sons,” JoAnn Luckett recalled. “[Now], I wake up every morning and it’s like, ‘Wow. Tracey is not here.’ I hate it. I hate it. I hate the way things are in this city.”
On Monday, Milwaukee Police confirmed they’d arrested Wilks, who tried to flee the scene. At the time, no other details on about the suspect had been released, other than he had a lengthy criminal history and was driving without a license at the time of the crash, WISN 12 reported.
The crash reportedly occurred when Wilks “zig-zagged in the street,” hitting Smith’s car in the process. Speaking to FOX 6, Luckett said her daughter had gotten out of her car to assess the damage — not to confront the offending driver.
“She went out to look to see what was going on,” JoAnn Luckett told the outlet.
Smith was a sergeant with Milwaukee Department of Corrections, where she served over two decades. According to WISN, colleagues are honoring the fallen officer by wearing black bands over their IDs and badges. Flags at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility were also flown at half staff in Smith’s memory.
“Sgt. Smith courageously served Wisconsin communities for 23 years as a member of the DOC, and her contributions to the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF) will be felt long after her passing,” DOC secretary-designee Kevin Carr said in a statement. “Today, I want to express my sincere condolences and stand in solidarity with Sgt. Smith’s family, friends and co-workers.”
Funeral preparations for Smith are underway.
Watch more in the video below.