Smith had multiple drivers license suspensions

Updated: June 12, 2007, 4:10 PM ET
Associated Press

J.R. Smith

Smith

NEPTUNE, N.J. -- Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith has been released from the hospital after a weekend collision that claimed the life of a friend.

The Nuggets issued a statement in Denver on Tuesday saying Smith was "devastated by the loss of his good friend," Andre Bell. The statement asked for privacy for Smith and his family.

Bell, 21, of East Orange died Monday at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where he and Smith were taken after the crash Saturday in Millstone. Bell suffered severe head injuries and had been in a coma.

Smith, also 21, had injuries to his left shoulder and numerous scratches. He lives in Millstone.

A third person in Smith's SUV and the driver of the other vehicle in the collision had only minor injuries.

The investigation into the crash is continuing, but Smith has already been cited for failure to stop at stop sign and improper passing.

Investigators said Smith was driving and Bell was a passenger when Smith's 2003 GMC Yukon went through a stop sign, collided with a Jaguar and overturned. Neither man was wearing a seat belt, and both were ejected, investigators said.

Smith's driver's license had been suspended five times in less than a year but was "in good standing" at the time of Saturday's crash, according to New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission spokesman Kevin Cranston. He said that Smith, 21, had paid all restoration fees and fines.

Smith's driving record was reported Tuesday in The Star Ledger of Newark.

Smith amassed 27 points against his license from April 22, 2005, to Jan 10, 2006, with eight violations on seven dates. Five of the citations were for speeding.

His most recent license suspension came on Feb. 7, 2006, Cranston said.

Smith had been a star at Lakewood High School and St. Benedict's Prep in Newark before being the 18th overall pick of New Orleans in the 2004 NBA draft. He averaged 13.0 points in 63 games for Denver this past season.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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