Country Singer Kylie Rae Harris Was Driving Over 100 MPH at Time of Fatal Crash, Police Say

Isabel van Brugen
By Isabel van Brugen
September 24, 2019Entertainment
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Country Singer Kylie Rae Harris Was Driving Over 100 MPH at Time of Fatal Crash, Police Say
Kylie Rae Harris, a country singer from Texas, in a file photograph. (kylierh/Instagram)

Country singer Kylie Rae Harris was driving at about 102 miles per hour at the time of the fatal crash that killed her and a 16-year-old girl earlier this month, authorities said.

The 30-year-old was making her way to the Big Barn Dance in Taos, New Mexico, when she collided with a vehicle driven by Maria Elena Cruz, 16, and another vehicle.

Harris and Cruz were pronounced dead at the scene, while the third driver reportedly wasn’t injured in the head-on crash.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said in a statement on Sept. 19 that the high speeds at which Harris was driving contributed to the three-vehicle collision. The sheriff’s office had been examining vehicle data recorders from the crash to recreate the scene.

“The information from the data boxes supports our at-scene investigation that two collision events occurred involving the three vehicles and that speed was definitely a contributing factor,” he told Taos News.

Hogrefe added that alcohol may also have been a contributing factor to the crash, but said that he had not yet received toxicology reports from the Office of the Medical Investigator.

Kylie Rae Harris
Kylie Rae Harris, a country singer from Texas, in a file photograph. (kylierh/Instagram)

According to the sheriff’s office, the 30-year-old was driving along the southbound at speeds of over 100 mph when her Chevrolet Equinox rear-ended a black Chevrolet Avalanche.

Harris then veered into the oncoming lane before crashing into Cruz’s Jeep SUV, which was reportedly traveling at 51 mph, according to investigators.

“Braking was indicated three-tenths of a second before impact,” the Taos County Sheriff’s Office statement read.

The teen’s father, Pedro Cruz, a Taos County firefighter and EMT, responded to the scene and found his daughter dead, KRQE reported.

According to court records, Harris struggled with alcohol in the past and had previously been charged for drinking and driving.

In June 2017, the country singer was found to be driving near twice the legal limit with a blood alcohol content level of over 0.15, for which she was arrested and charged. It was ordered Harris must install an ignition interlock device in her car after an October conviction, reported Fox News.

Kylie Rae Harris
Kylie Rae Harris, a country singer from Texas, in a file photograph. (kylierh/Instagram)

Harris’s mother, Betsy Cowan, spoke to People magazine just days after her daughter’s death, and admitted she had struggled with alcohol. She added that her daughter may have been exhausted at the time of the fatal crash.

“If you’ve ever had to take defensive driving, they say sleep deprivation, emotions, and alcohol are the top three contributors to most wrecks,” Cowan told People magazine.

“And so any one of those things could have done it … She had driven 11 or 12 hours that day, and I’m sure that she was exhausted and she was emotionally exhausted. And I think we all know what that does to you.”

According to a Fox News report, before the collision Harris uploaded a video on Instagram saying she had been on the road for 12 hours.

“If you’ve ever had a little kid and they run around the living room in circles trying to keep themselves awake and they look like they’re on steroids—I think that after driving 12 hours and being excited and wanting to stay awake, that that’s the probable frame of mind that she was in at that point. And that’s probably not safe, but we really won’t know the answer for quite some time,” Cowan added.

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