Country singer and songwriter Kylie Harris was drunk and driving at high speeds before the fatal three-vehicle crash in which she and 16-year-old Maria Elena Cruz died.
This revelation was the conclusion of law enforcement authorities in New Mexico who completed an investigation into the fatal crash that occurred in September.
According to a press released on Thursday by the Taos County Sheriff’s office, Harris’s vehicle computers showed that she was driving at a dangerously high speed before the fatal collision:
“… data from the on-board computers… showed Ms. Harris’ speed at 102 miles per hour at the time of the first collision event before crossing into the oncoming lane and striking Ms. Cruz’ vehicle at 95 miles per hour.”
The release also said that a toxicology report revealed that the Taos High School junior Maria Elena Cruz, who died in the accident, had no alcohol in her system at the time of her death.
However, Harris’ blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit.
Harris, 30, was traveling south in a black Chevrolet Equinox on State Road 522 when she rear-ended a black Chevrolet Avalanche, according to Taos News.
The collision threw Harris’s vehicle into the northbound lane, where it crashed into Cruz’s vehicle, a white 2008 Jeep. Cruz and Harris were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
Harris’s family speaks out
Following the release of the toxicology report by law enforcement authorities, Harris’s family has released a statement expressing sadness about the role that alcohol consumption played in the loss of lives.
“The family of Kylie Rae Harris received the toxicology report and deeply regret that alcohol contributed to the tragic deaths of Maria Elena Cruz and Kylie. No family should have to endure the heartbreak of losing a child.”
Harris shared a tearful Instagram Story hours before the crash
We reported in September that Harris had just posted a tearful Instagram Story when the accident occurred at about 9 p.m. local time on Wednesday, September 4, at Milepost 1 of State Road 522, near Taos in northern New Mexico.
In the Instagram Story, titled “Heart to Heart Ahead,” Harris shared her feelings with fans while driving:
“I’m alright, I look a mess. It’s ‘cos I’ve been crying. It’s OK, though.. um… It’s a good cry. I just got to Taos, New Mexico… 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. But basically, literally, everybody that was here has passed away, except for my uncle, and including my dad, and… Oh my god… [she starts crying]… sorry…”
Harris was visiting Taos to perform at Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance Music Festival.