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Three months after country singer Kylie Rae Harris died in a three-vehicle crash in New Mexico that left one other person, a teenage girl, dead, authorities have confirmed that Harris caused the fatal collision.
The Taos County Sheriff's Office stated in a news release issued on Thursday, December 5, that Harris, 30, was driving over the speed limit and had been drinking at the time of the Sept. 4 crash. Harris had been going 102 miles per hour when she hit another car on Highway 522 near mile marker 1; she then sped into oncoming traffic at speeds reaching 95 miles per hour and hit a vehicle being driven by 16-year-old Maria Cruz, according to the release.
Harris and Cruz both died as a result of the crash, authorities confirmed at the time, according to the Associated Press. The third driver was uninjured.
Authorities previously theorized that alcohol was a factor in the crash. A toxicology report taken after the crash confirmed their suspicions: Harris had a blood alcohol concentration of .28 at the time, which is more than three times the legal limit, the sheriff’s office said.
“The now competed 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.
Cruz had not been drinking at all at the time of the crash, according to an autopsy, authorities said.
“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 said.
Cruz was a resident of San Cristóbal and a junior at Taos High School, where she was an honor student, according to KRQE.
“We don’t want her name to be forgotten, because she had so much of her life ahead,” Cruz’s uncle, Pedro Soliz, told the station. “She was a very good student and wanted to study and for people to take her away, that’s not right.”
Cruz’s father, Pedro Cruz, is the deputy chief of the San Cristóbal Volunteer Fire Department, and was driving on a nearby road when he happened to come upon the scene of the crash, according to Taos News.
Harris, who is from Texas, had been in the area that day to perform at Michael Hearne's Big Barn Dance Music Festival. She leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter, Corbie.
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