Mom who was teaching son to drive killed in Milwaukee road rage shooting

Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Matthew Wilks

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – A Wisconsin man was charged Wednesday in a fatal road rage incident that took the life of a mother who was teaching her son to drive.

Matthew Lee Wilks, 35, of Whitefish Bay faces one count of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Tracey Smith, 47, and one count of being a felon in possession of a gun.

According to the criminal complaint:

Smith's son told police he and his mother were driving Friday to Playmakers, a clothing store on Fond du Lac Avenue in Milwaukee. He said he that as he was turning left onto Fond du Lac, a gold van cut in front of him from the lane to his right and collided with the front passenger corner of his car.

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He said he stopped in the intersection, and the van stopped. His mother got out of the passenger seat to inspect the damage. He saw Wilks open the van door and stand on the running board looking back.

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Smith's son said his mother was yelling at Wilks when he said, "Bitch, I'll kill you," before shooting her once in the chest.

Smith said, "He shot me," and fell to the street. As her son and other bystanders ran to help her, Wilks did a U-turn and drove away.

Smith's son drove her to a hospital where she was pronounced dead about 35 minutes later, at 5:38 p.m

Video from the area revealed the van's license plate, which was for a 2004 GMC Savanna van registered to Wilks. Smith's son picked Wilks' photo from among several as the man who shot his mother, a sergeant for the Department of Corrections who worked at the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility.

Wilks had a 2008 conviction for distributing cocaine and possessing a gun as a felon.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Road rage shooting: Mom killed while teaching son to drive in Milwaukee