Brother of Smyrna High football star dies in car crash


SMYRNA — The older brother of a Smyrna High football star who committed to a college earlier in the day, died just a few hours later in a vehicle crash Wednesday night, the Delaware State Police said.

Wade W. Knight, 22, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was pronounced dead after the single vehicle accident at approximately 8:24 p.m. on Smyrna Landing Road just north of Brick Store Landing Road, according to authorities. He was the lone occupant in a 2001 Lexus and police said excessive speed appears to have factored into the crash.

In an afternoon public ceremony at school, senior running back Will Knight signed a letter of intent to attend Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, on a scholarship.

On Thursday just after 7 a.m., the Smyrna School District sent an email to district addresses through a spokesperson:

“At (Superintendent) Mr. (Patrik) Williams’ request, I regret to inform everyone that last night, Will Knight’s brother, Wade, was involved in a car accident on Paddock Road and did not survive.

“Will signed with Old Dominion University yesterday, so we can only imagine the impact that this will have on the family on the heels of such joy.

“The District will be working with the family, of course, and SHS has already met to prepare counseling for their students.

“This is just an unspeakable tragedy that will have repercussions on our entire district family.”

Later Thursday, Mr. Williams described the “entire Smyrna-Clayton community” as being “in disbelief and shock.

“Certainly, we have ongoing counseling available for students and staff which will continue through tomorrow and ‘beyond’ for those who need it. All of our staff, collectively and individually, are reaching out to the Knight family and will continue to support them indefinitely.”

Mr. Williams said anyone needing support could call him directly at 653-8585.

“Our community will be steadfast in its effort to help Wade’s family, friends and one another,” he said.

The late Mr. Knight played football at Smyrna High, wearing the same No. 25 number as his younger brother and graduating from the northern Kent County school in 2014.

Police said preliminary investigation found that Mr. Knight’s northbound vehicle apparently ran a stop sign at the intersection of Smyrna Landing Road and Brick Store Landing Road. The driver then lost control of the vehicle that left the west edge of the roadway, police said. The Lexus then struck multiple trees and began to spin, ejecting Mr. Knight from the vehicle.

Mr. Knight, who police said was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene by responding EMS.

Police said it had not been determined whether the driver was impaired at the time of the crash.

Smyrna Landing Road, between Paddock Road and Brick Store Landing Road, was closed for approximately three hours, while the crash was investigated and cleared, police said.

The investigation is ongoing, and police asked anyone with information to contact Cpl. J. Breen of the Troop 2 Collision Reconstruction Unit at 365-8486. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or online at

News editor Ashley Dawson, sports editor Andy Walter and staff writer Tim Mastro contributed to this story.


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