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Sheriff says country singer Kylie Rae Harris caused deadly wreck

TAOS, N.M. – Authorities now believe 30-year-old country singer Kylie Rae Harris was responsible for the three-vehicle crash that killed her and a New Mexico high school student Wednesday night.

Maria Elena Cruz, 16, was driving on State Road 522 when her white 2008 Jeep was struck head-on, according to the Taos News.

Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe told the paper, “At this time I will say with most certainty that Miss Cruz was an innocent victim of this senseless crash caused by Ms. Harris.”

Investigators believe speed, and possibly alcohol, were contributing factors in the crash.

According to the sheriff’s office, evidence shows that Harris clipped the back of another vehicle, causing her to lose control and drive into oncoming traffic.

The Taos News reports that Cruz died at the scene; one of the first responders was her father, Pedro Cruz, the deputy chief of the San Cristobal Volunteer Fire Department.

“TCSO would like to thank Taos News for honor and tribute to the Cruz family,” Hogrefe wrote on Facebook Friday. “Make no mistake both lives lost are tragic, I stand behind my statements and the integrity of our investigation.”

The sheriff’s office is still waiting for the results of a toxicology report.

Harris, who released a self-titled EP in March, had been in New Mexico to perform at Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance Music Festival, according to the concert listings on her official website. Her next performance was supposed to take place on Saturday in Turkey, Texas.

A GoFundMe account has been created to raise money for Cruz’s family.

Continuing coverage, here.

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