Hit-and-Run Accident May Have Triggered Saints Player’s Fatal Shooting

Will Smith
The Associated Press

Former Saints defensive end Will Smith, gunned down in an apparent road rage incident Saturday, may have been involved in a hit-and-run accident with his alleged assailant just moments before the fatal shooting.

Smith’s wife Raquel Smith also suffered two gun shot wounds in her leg, allegedly by the same perpetrator, Cardelle Hayes.

Hayes who faces charges for second-degree murder in Smith’s death, according to the New Orleans Police Department, will soon face another charge for the shooting of Raquel. At this point it is unclear whether the additional indictment will be for aggravated battery or attempted second-degree murder. Hayes is being held on $1,000,000 bail.

In a series of videos released by Fox8 New Orleans, shortly before the confrontation between the Smiths and Hayes, Smith’s Mercedes SUV may have tapped into the rear bumper of Hayes’ Hummer at a nearby intersection.

Hayes acting attorney John Fuller said, “Prior to the actions that lead to Mr. Smith’s death, my client was involved in a hit and run.” He continued, “Someone hit him and failed to pull over. My client trailed behind this person in an effort to get their license plate number. My client also called 911.”

Fox investigated the allegation after piecing together a number of videos obtained from local businesses. Fox reported:

Then, near the intersection of Magazine and St. Andrew, more surveillance video captures the Hummer stopping abruptly after possibly getting bumped from behind by a Mercedes SUV. The two vehicles stop for a moment, and then the Hummer appears to try to pull over to the side of the road. Instead of stopping, the driver of the Mercedes SUV drives into the opposite lane of traffic and speeds away. The Hummer takes off after the SUV in the direction of Sophie Wright and Felicity Street, which is a block and a half away. That’s where Smith was killed and his wife sustained two gunshot wounds to her leg.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti analyzed the new wrinkle in the case, observing,  “What matters is those few seconds before the gunshots went off and a few other things, but what happened 20 minutes ago I don’t think is even admissible, and I don’t think it’s relevant.”