Country singer Kylie Rae Harris was drunk, speeding in fatal car crash, investigators conclude

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Kylie Rae Harris was drunk and speeding when she caused the three-car crash in New Mexico that killed her and teen driver Maria Cruz.

According to the Taos County Sheriff's Office, the investigation into the Sept. 4 accident has been concluded. It was determined that not only was the 30-year-old country singer’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) more than three times the legal limit but she was going over 100 mph when her car collided into the first vehicle.

While the “initial investigation provided indicators that speed was a factor and that alcohol impairment was suspected on driver Kylie Harris,” the press release said, investigators then collected data from the car computers which “showed Ms. Harris’s speed at 102 miles per hour at the time of the first collision.” Her car then crossed into the oncoming lane and hit high school student Cruz’s vehicle “at 95 miles per hour.” and both women died on the scene. The third driver, Sandra Davies, survived without severe injuries.

A toxicology report determined that Harris had a BAC of .28, which is over three times the legal limit for impaired driving at the time of her death. A report on Cruz showed no alcohol present when she died.

“The now completed investigation supports what we suspected at the time of our initial investigation and my earlier press release that stated alcohol consumption was suspected and speeding was a factor,” Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said in a statement.

The Taos County Sheriff’s Office responded to the three-car crash on Highway 522, a 41-mile-long state road in northern New Mexico, on Sept. 4. In the following days, police said Harris was at fault as her 2017 black Chevrolet Equinox — headed southbound toward Taos — clipped the back of Davies’s black Chevrolet Avalanche. Harris’s vehicle was then launched into the northbound lane, causing a head-on collision with Cruz’s white 2008 Jeep.

"At this time I will say with most certainty that Miss Cruz was an innocent victim of this senseless crash caused by Ms. Harris," Sheriff Hogrefe told Yahoo Entertainment at the time.

Harris — who was on her way to the Big Barn Dance Music Festival in New Mexico — had a prior DWI conviction in Collin County, Tex. in 2017, and had been court-ordered to install an ignition interlock device on her vehicle. Her mother, Betsy Cowan, acknowledged that her daughter “struggled with” alcohol “on-and-off over the years” in an interview with People magazine after the crash. However, she didn’t want to get into specifics “out of respect to both families.”

Cruz was a sophomore at Taos High School. Her father, Deputy Chief Pedro Cruz, is a Taos County Firefighter and EMT.

While Davies survived without major physical injuries, a GoFundMe established for her says she has had severe headaches since the crash and is coping with the emotional impact and survivor’s guilt.

Harris, who released a self-titled EP was released in March, is survived by her 6-year-old daughter.

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