Country singer Kylie Rae Harris is to blame for the car accident that killed her and a 16-year-old high school student, the Taos County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico claimed.
Harris was involved in a fatal car accident on Wednesday, September 4, after her three-wheel vehicle crashed north of Taos, New Mexico. She was 30 years old. Along with the country singer, Maria Elena Cruz, a 16-year-old sophomore at Taos High School, also passed away in the crash. Both were wearing seatbelts.
“At this time I will say with most certainty that Miss Cruz was an innocent victim of this senseless crash caused by Ms. Harris,” Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe told local newspaper Taos News on Thursday, September 5.
Harris was on her way to perform at Big Barn Dance, a four-day music festival in Taos. Investigators with the Taos County Sheriff’s Office told Taos News that speeding seemed to be a contributing factor in the crash. Alcohol was also suspected, but investigators are still awaiting a toxicology report from the Office of the Medical Investigator to be more certain.
According to the sheriff’s office, Harris and Cruz, who is the daughter of the San Cristóbal Volunteer Fire Department deputy chief, died when the country singer’s 2017 black Chevrolet Equinox clipped the back of a black Chevrolet Avalanche, which sent Harris’ vehicle into the northbound lane, causing her to hit Cruz’s 2008 Jeep head-on. Both Harris and Cruz died at the scene. The third driver was uninjured.
After Harris’ death, her publicist told Us Weekly in a statement: “We have no further details to share, and ask for privacy for her family at this time. Everyone that knew Kylie knew how much she loved her family and, beyond that, how much she loved music. The best tribute to her unmatched enthusiasm for both is to spread as much love as you can today, and listen to music that fully inspires you.”
“Damn. I just heard the news and I’m in shock. @Kylierh, you have always been so sweet and supportive of me,” the Grammy winner, 29, wrote alongside a photo of her and Harris on her Instagram Story on Thursday, September 5. “Your soulful voice and Texas beauty was always jaw-dropping, even wen we were teenagers at the Larry Joe Taylor festival. Thinking of your family and your precious baby girl right now. Rest In Peace.”
Hours before her death, Harris posted a series of Instagram Stories about the loss of her family members.
“I just got to Taos, New Mexico. But for those of you who don’t know, 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 told her followers. “Literally, everybody that was here has passed away, except for my uncle, including my dad. Driving these roads today, I’ve been driving for 12 hours, you would think that’s so exhausting and boring. And remembering my place in the back seat, and I started getting really sad.”
The singer released her self-titled EP in March. She is survived by her daughter, Corbie, 6, who inspired her song “Twenty Years From Now.”