Because of their size and strength, professional athletes, especially football players, often appear to be immortal. Sometimes, this image of immortality extends to their families or girlfriends. When death or serious injury strikes one of these elite people, the reaction can be intense grief mixed with disbelief. These emotions were on the loose recently after the girlfriend of Cleveland Browns player Chris Smith was struck and killed by a car while she was standing on the shoulder of I-90.

Both Smith and the woman were residents of Charlotte, and she had flown to Cleveland to watch her boyfriend perform as a member of the Cleveland Browns. The two were traveling west on I-90 when one of the tires on Smith’s Lamborghini suddenly deflated and caused the vehicle to strike the retaining wall. Smith stopped the car, and he and the woman got out to inspect the damage. While the woman was standing on the shoulder of the freeway, she was struck and killed by a Mazda heading west on I-90.

The driver of the Mazda told police that she had been drinking before the accident. Police have not said whether they believe the woman to have been impaired at the time of the accident, although they have exonerated Smith from any alcohol-related liability for the mishap. One report stated that the blood alcohol content of the Mazda driver was 0.08%, an exact match for the legal limit in Ohio.

The deceased woman had given birth to a baby just two weeks prior to the accident. The infant daughter may have a wrongful death claim under Ohio law against the driver of the Mazda for her mother’s death. Smith has no legal relationship to the dead woman, and he, unfortunately, will have no such claim.

Anyone who has lost a loved one under similar circumstances may wish to consult an experienced personal injury attorney for advice on the likelihood of recovering damages for lost of emotional support and love and companionship.