Kylie Rae Harris, Texas Country Artist, Dies in Car Crash
Kylie Rae Harris, a Texas country singer-songwriter, died on Wednesday (Sept. 4) in a three-car crash near Taos, N.M. She was 30 years old.
“We are heartbroken to confirm that Kylie Rae Harris passed away in a car accident last night," Harris' publicist tells Billboard. "Everyone that knew Kylie knew how much she loved her family and, beyond that, how much she loved music. The best tribute to her unmatched enthusiasm for both is to spread as much love as you can today, and listen to music that fully inspires you.”
According to the Associated Press, Harris, 16-year-old Maria Cruz of San Cristobal, N.M., and a third unidentified driver were involved in the accident, which took place at Milepost 1 of State Road 522 around 9PM local time, per TaosNews.com. Both Harris and Cruz, died; the third driver was uninjured.
According to TaosNews.com, Harris was driving south on State Road 522 in a black 2017 Chevrolet Equinox when she clipped the back of a black Chevrolet Avalanche, driven by the unidentified third driver. That caused Harris' vehicle to move into the northbound lane of the road and hit Cruz's white 2008 Jeep head on.
The Taos County Sheriff's Office says that all three drivers were wearing seatbelts, and that both speed and alcohol are suspected as factors in the crash, though neither they nor Harris' publicist have offered additional details. Police are awaiting a toxicology report.
"Fuel range is 46 miles and I’m 36 from the nearest gas station. Dear baby Jesus please don’t let me get stranded in NM," Harris wrote on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon. A series of Instagram stories posted shortly before the crash show that she made it to Taos shortly before the deadly crash.
The 2014 Texas Regional Radio Music Awards Female Vocalist of the Year, Harris was a Wylie, Texas, native. She escaped an abusive relationship, which ended with legal troubles, after high school and kept pursuing music, a passion since she was a pre-teen.
“My twenties weren’t a walk in the park, a lot of that admittedly self-inflicted, but I grew a lot,” Harris told Taste of Country in January. “This project feels like the close of a real painful chapter and a welcome to whatever is next."
Harris' newest EP, a self-titled project, arrived in March. She co-wrote with Jon Randall, Bonnie Bishop, Wayne Kirkpatrick and more for the record.
"She was a great person and she made everybody feel welcomed and loved and cared for," fellow Texas country artist Randy Rogers tells Taste of Country. "She was a really bright, shining light ... I remember the first time I heard her sing, I’ll never forget it."
Harris was in Taos for a Thursday night (Sept. 5) show at Michael Hearne's Big Barn Dance Music Festival. According to Billboard, she is survived by a daughter, Corbie. A GoFundMe has been set up to raise money for Harris' funeral expenses and start a college fund for Corbie.
Cruz, the 16-year-old who died in the accident, is the daughter of Pedro Cruz, a San Cristobal Volunteer Fire Department deputy chief, who was one of the personnel who responded to the crash site. A GoFundMe has been set up for her family as well.
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