Police: Kylie Rae Harris Caused Crash That Killed Her and 16-Year-Old Girl
Police say speed and alcohol were factors in the crash that killed country singer Kylie Rae Harris and 16-year-old Maria Cruz of San Cristobal, N.M. Additionally, they tell a story that finds Harris as the instigator in Wednesday's (Sept. 4) three-car accident.
Taos News revealed investigators' findings on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 5). The Taos County Sheriff's Office says Harris was in a 2017 black Chevrolet Equinox driving south on State Road 522 when she clipped the back of a Chevrolet Avalanche. That sent her vehicle into oncoming traffic, and she hit a white 2008 Jeep driven by Cruz. Both drivers died at the scene. The driver of the Avalanche was uninjured.
The Sheriff's Office is still waiting for a toxicology report from the Office of the Medical Investigator, the newspaper reports. Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe placed the blame for the accident on Harris in speaking to Taos News.
"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. Taste of Country reached out to both the sheriff and the Taos Police Department for further clarification and had not heard back from either at the time of publication.
According to public records, Harris had a DWI in 2017 with a blood alcohol level exceeding .15, resulting in an ignition interlock being installed in her car. She had a previous citation for speeding in 2014, when she was clocked going 81 in a 60 MPH zone.
One of the first responders to the crash scene was Cruz's father, Pedro Cruz, who is the deputy chief of the San Cristobal Volunteer Fire Department. The department says he and his family are reeling at home, as is the entire community. A GoFundMe was set up for Cruz's funeral expenses.
"This GoFundMe is dedicated to the most sweetest, loving, incredible human ever, Maria," the introduction at a GoFundMe page for Cruz reads. "I am her best friend and started this page to help with any expense the family may need to cover. Maria was an innocent girl and was gone too soon." Taste of Country confirmed the authenticity of this GoFundMe with the company.
A separate GoFundMe has been started to raise money for Harris' 6-year-old daughter's college fund, as well as the 30-year-old singer's funeral.
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Harris documented her 12-hour trip to Taos on social media. She was scheduled to play the Big Barn Music Festival the next day and spoke with emotion about how important the area was to her. She would be killed just hours after her final Instagram story post.
"I spent the last 20 years of my life coming to Taos with my dad, my sisters, my grandparents lived here, my uncle still lives here," she said. "Literally everybody that was here has passed away, except for my uncle, including my dad."
"Big Ol' Heartache" is Harris' most-streamed song on Spotify. Another song called "Twenty Years from Now" is also popular.
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