Mother Who Was Teaching Her Son To Drive Is Shot In Front Of Him In Apparent Road Rage Incident

"She was a beautiful person. She knew how to treat people. She knew how to talk to people,” Tracey Smith's grieving father said.

By Jill Sederstrom

A Wisconsin mother who was teaching her son to drive was shot and killed in front of him Friday night in an apparent road rage incident.

Tracey Smith, a sergeant with the State Department of Corrections, was taking her 17-year-old son out on the road for a driving lesson when her car was struck by another driver, police said. 

Smith and her son, who was behind the wheel, had been waiting to make a left turn at an intersection when authorities say 35-year-old Matthew Wilks cut into their lane and hit their car, according to a criminal complaint obtained by WISN

Her family told local station TMJ4 that Smith got out of the car to check the damage to her vehicle when the man allegedly opened fire killing Smith in front of her son.

Her son later told police that when Smith went to talk with the driver, the man later identified by police as Wilks threatened to kill her before shooting her in the chest, the criminal complaint said.

Smith's son drove her to the hospital, but she died from her injuries.

Authorities say Wilks fled the scene but he was apprehended Monday and has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide.

Smith’s family is now left grieving the loss of a woman they describe as always smiling and dedicated to her two sons.

"She went to work every day," her mother JoAnne Luckett told WITI. "She made a life for her and her sons. 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."

Her father Ollie Luckett said his oldest daughter had been an easygoing person.

"She was a beautiful person. She knew how to treat people. She knew how to talk to people. She was wonderful," he told WISN.

The family is now trying to understand why the seemingly senseless act of violence occurred Friday night.

“I don’t know what to say, but I know one thing, the way my daughter lost her life, it wasn’t right,” he said.

Kevin A. Carr, secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections also released a statement expressing the department’s sadness over the loss.

“The Department of Corrections (DOC) family is mourning the tragic death of Sergeant Tracey Smith, who passed away from a senseless act of violence on Friday. 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. Today, I want to express my sincere condolences and stand in solidarity with Sgt. Smith’s family, friends and coworkers,” he said in the statement obtained by Oxygen.com.

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