Country singer Kylie Rae Harris 'most certainly' caused car crash that killed her and 16-year-old female driver, says sheriff
The Taos County Sheriff's Office said that speed was a contributing factor in the crash and that they suspected alcohol was involved as well.
Officials are saying with "most certainty" that Kylie Rae Harris, a 30-year-old rising Texas country singer, was responsible for the fatal three-car crash that killed her as well as 16-year-old New Mexico native Maria Elena Cruz this past Wednesday, September 4. We previously reported that the crash occurred in the evening on State Road 522 as Kylie was on her way to perform at the Big Barn Dance, a four-day music festival in Taos, New Mexico.
As the 30-year-old was driving, she is said to have clipped the back of a black Chevrolet Avalanche that sent her 2017 black Chevrolet Equinox into the northbound lane, where she slammed head-on into the white jeep being driven by Maria, according to Taos News. While both Kylie and Maria were wearing seatbelts at the time, neither survived the crash. They died at the scene. The driver of the Avalanche escaped the accident unharmed.
Speaking about the incident, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said that one of the first responders to the scene was Pedro Cruz, the deputy chief of the San Cristóbal Volunteer Fire Department, who also happened to be Maria's father. "At this time I will say with most certainty that Miss Cruz was an innocent victim of this senseless crash caused by Ms. Harris," he said.
Investigators with the Taos County Sheriff's Office suggested that speed appeared to have been a contributing factor in the crash and that they suspected alcohol was a contributing factor as well. Hogrefe confirmed that evidence found on the crash site indicated that alcohol may have been involved, though he declined to comment on specifics. Investigators are said to be waiting on a toxicology report from the Office of the Medical Investigator to confirm their suspicions.
Kylie did have a prior DWI (Driving under the influence) conviction in Collin County, Texas, in 2017 and had been ordered to install an ignition interlock device on her vehicle that required her to take a breathalyzer test before driving, according to court records. The records, obtained by the Daily Mail, show she had been driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.15, almost double the legal limit of 0.08. Three priors before that, in 2014, she was fined $302 for speeding after she was caught driving 81mph in a 60mph zone in Dallas.
The TCSO is currently analyzing the crash data recorders from both vehicles, with a press release from the office reading, "These CDR’s will provide pertinent information that will affirm the findings of the investigation." A GoFundMe page has been established to raise money for Kylie's funeral and to fund her six-year-old daughter Corbie's college education.
It has raised over $41,000 of a $50,000 goal at the time of writing.