New Mexico Fire Chief responds to accident of country star Kylie Rae Harris unaware that his own daughter also died in the same crash
Pedro Cruz, a volunteer deputy fire chief for the San Cristobal Fire Department, responded to the deadly accident completely unaware that his daughter was one of his victims. Cruz's daughter, 16-year-old Maria Elena Cruz, was driving home from work when the singer crashed into her.
SAN CRISTOBAL, NEW MEXICO: The lives of popular country singer Kylie Rae Harris and an innocent teenager were tragically cut short by an accident that occurred on the night of September 4. Reports reveal that a New Mexico volunteer fire chief who responded to the fatal crash was devastated to learn that his own 16-year-old daughter was one of the victims of the crash, which reportedly involved three different vehicles.
Albuquerque TV station KRQE reports that Pedro Cruz, a volunteer deputy fire chief for the San Cristobal Fire Department, responded to the deadly accident completely unaware that his daughter was one of his victims. Cruz's daughter, 16-year-old Maria Elena Cruz, was driving home from work near Taos, New Mexico when the 30-year-old singer crashed into her. “He’s also an EMT, so he’s no stranger to going out on calls -- both medical, crashes and other things -- but very traumatic for him to not know but to respond anyway and then find it was his family member,” Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said.
The crash occurred in the evening on State Road 522 according to initial media reports. Harris's death was later confirmed by her publicist. Officials are now saying with "most certainty" that Harris was responsible for the fatal three-car crash that killed her and Cruz. "At this time I will say with most certainty that Miss Cruz was an innocent victim of this senseless crash caused by Ms. Harris," Hogrefe revealed.
Sheriff’s investigators believe that the accident was caused when Harris’s vehicle clipped the back of a black Chevrolet Avalanche, which sent her spinning into oncoming traffic in front of Cruz’s car. Though emergency services arrived shortly, both Cruz and Harris died at the scene. San Cristobal community members held a benefit on September 6 in an attempt to raise money for the Cruz family. Albuquerque's KOB-TV reported that a memorial has been created in Maria's memory at Taos High School, where she was a junior. A GoFundMe page has also been set up to raise money for the family.
According to New York Daily News, Taos County Fire Chief Mike Cordova said: “They just want the community to remember their daughter, Maria Elena, as kind, loving and caring. Wonderful daughter, wonderful sister, and just kind-hearted soul.”