Kylie Rae Harris, Taos NM, and An Unspeakable Tragedy
This story has been updated.
Whenever a songwriter sits down to write a song, their sincere hope is they will conjure up something that will stir the human soul in such a manner that it leaves an indelible mark upon listeners lasting well beyond the moments in audience with the song itself. Sad, happy, nostalgic, or tragic, as long as it awakens a keen sense of being alive, a songwriter’s efforts are fulfilled. Kylie Ray Harris accomplished this many times in her career, and most recently with her song “Twenty Years From Now” written for her six-year-old daughter, Corbie. Listening back to the song now after digesting the news of Kylie Rae’s unfortunate passing in a car accident in Taos, NM, it’s nothing short of soul crushing how the song yearns for twenty more years of breath to atone for all of her mistakes and prove that her crazy dream of making music was not all for naught.
This whole thing unfolded like a story, and one that if put into song as a work of fiction, would fall apart as too impossible to believe. Kylie Rae’s teary-eyed Instagram post recorded mere hours before her death—where she talks about all her family members that driving the roads of Taos reminded her of that have now all died—it was almost like Kyle Rae Harris knew those same roads would eventually take her life too. The death of Kylie Rae is an unrelenting tragedy that needs no previous knowledge of her music to feel inconsolably. And now it will not just be her songs that will forever touch many fans of country music and beyond, it will be her story too. Just like a great song, the biography of Kylie Rae Harris will linger as a lasting reminder of the preciousness of life. Her passing was like her final piece of performance art.
Every death is a tragedy, especially one cut so short at thirty years of age, so full of inspiration and motivation, and brimming with life and a mother’s love. But it’s especially tragic for Texas country where Kylie Rae was one of the very few main stage performers of the female persuasion. Just a few short weeks ago, she was taking the stage at KOKEFest just outside of Austin as the only woman performer in the entire two-day lineup. She had recently released an EP, which was meant to be a precursor to a proper relaunch of her career with a new, top level manager behind her in Alex Torrez. Kylie Rae Harris had been traveling to Taos for years to be a part of Michael Hearn’s 17-year-old Big Barn Dance event, but only as a guest participant singing with others. This was the first year Kyle Rae was scheduled to be a primary performer herself. She never made it to the stage.
Taos has a town population of only 5,700 (there’s a few more in surrounding areas), but the Northern New Mexico hamlet has played a magical role in country music for many decades. The ancient pueblo standing just north of town, the mysterious legacy of the “Taos Hum,” the archaic adobe buildings which constitute some of the oldest structures in North America, Taos is like something out of an oil painting as opposed to real life. Waylon Jennings recorded the song “Taos, New Mexico” in 1967, instilling the mountain town sitting at 7,000 feet with a feeling of magic in the mind of many country music listeners. Country legend Liz Anderson considered Taos her hometown. Willie Nelson once bailed an inebriated Dennis Hopper out of jail in Taos in the 70’s. Songwriters have been going to Taos for decades to not just perform, but to be inspired, and bask in the spirit of the area. Kylie Rae Harris passing away in Taos feels tragically poetic—just another unbelievable and poignant characteristic of the story of her life, and of Taos.
Somebody else died in Taos on September 5th, 2019 in the same accident that took the life of Kylie Rae Harris. A 16-year-old girl from San Cristóbal named Maria Elena Cruz also passed away. She wasn’t famous (though neither was Kylie Rae until her death), but her life was just as significant, and just as precious as Kylie Rae’s or any of ours. Her family and friends mourn and grieve similar to country fans, but there’s no national community like country music to come together to morn her loss, and fill up the coffers of a GoFundMe campaign. Maria Elena’s father is Pedro Cruz, the deputy chief of the San Cristóbal Volunteer Fire Department, who responded to the crash. Alcohol has been cited as a factor in the accident, and Kylie Rae Harris has been found to be at fault, though officials are waiting on a toxicology report to make a final determination. The roads around Taos and Northern New Mexico have taken many lives due to poor conditions, dangerous curves, and intoxicants. And they will take more. Taos is a wild place full of wonder, but one where danger lingers near. That’s one of the things that makes it so magical.
Kylie Rae Harris is gone. She never received the recognition she deserved in life like she has in her passing. The death of Kylie Rae Harris reminds us all to cherish life, to hold our loved ones that much closer, covet every breath, live for today, and follow our dreams. Because just like a good song, the story of Kylie Rae Harris touched us deep down somewhere in a way we can never forget, and despite the pain of the memory, never want to. Because that pain is the sensation of being alive.
September 6, 2019 @ 8:06 am
Didn’t want to include this in the article because it felt a little self-indulgent, but long-time readers of Saving Country Music know that I founded this site in Taos, NM in April of 2008 when I lived there, and I still have very strong ties to the area, and know the stretch of road where these two young women died very well. Taos is a magically tragic place. The death of Kylie Rae Harris adds even more weight behind what this small town means to a lot of people. Kylie Rae said it best on Instagram. It’s hard to not get emotional just nearing the city limits.
September 10, 2019 @ 5:37 pm
She was texting while driving and speeding. Hit back of truck then into the other lane and hit Maria head on. 16 years old. Her dad is a Responder and was at accident. Maria will never have a baby or an extra 14 years. Drinking is suspected as well. Kylie had prior DUI and speeding ticket. Her mom said she had drinking issues. The Cruz family closed theirs Go Fund Page when goal was meant for Maria’s funeral today. Kylie’s Go Fund page for funeral and college money for daughter isn’t right. They made it out like she was innocent when she is responsible for the accident. I am very sorry for the little girl. But Kylie chose to drive in a dangerous way.
September 6, 2019 @ 8:37 am
Absolutely wonderful writing Sir. I’ve been to Taos once. Got there on April 19th, 2017 & left town very hazy a few days later. Wrote a song 10 minutes after checking into our motel. It’s truly magical there. First time I ever stepped into Bostocks in Stephenville, Texas back in January of 11′, Kylie Ray was sitting on a stool singing at a Mike Stanley Open Mic Night. That was a magical moment too.
You and Your White Claw
September 6, 2019 @ 8:38 am
I hope her family does the right thing with that GoFundMe money and support the family of the 16 year old girl who was robbed of her life because of bad decisions made by another.
September 7, 2019 @ 8:01 am
The go fund me was created by the 16-yo victim’s BFF for her family. It has Nothing to do with the singer.
September 10, 2019 @ 5:43 pm
Maria’s family closed theirs when goal was meant. Kylie has 45,000 right now. For a funeral and college. Maria was buried today. Her family has other kids and they aren’t taking money. College money for a 6 year old. That wouldn’t be my first thought. I lost 7 people last year and 3 had kids. They didn’t do a college fund or a funeral fund. They aren’t rich either. They were in shock and taking care of the kids. I feel terrible for that child. But Maria was innocent victim.
September 6, 2019 @ 8:39 am
Trigger, maybe you can add to this, but from what I’ve read, Kylie was drunk driving and speeding while posting videos on her social media… it’s tragic and sad, but those actions if true cost the life of an innocent 16 year old girl.
September 6, 2019 @ 8:44 am
I definitely addressed this in the article (you may have missed it, no worries). I feel this is a very important element to this story, and most definitely deserves our reflection as well. It’s also fair to point out the police have not officially ruled on the drunk driving, though it does appear at this point the accident was most likely Kylie Rae’s fault.
September 7, 2019 @ 7:56 am
Trigger — Your forthright recognition of Maria Elena Cruz’s death was appreciated. When a final determination of whether or not Harris was intoxicated, I hope you’ll post that as well. A terribly sad story, all around. Is there any information on who will take care of Harris’s daughter Corbie now? Is her father in the picture?
September 7, 2019 @ 8:08 am
Yes, it has been, and was always my intent to post a more specific story about the final conclusions about the accident once we have them. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and know very well about how long it takes for toxicology reports to come back. Think about when guys like Prince and Tom Petty died, and how long it took after their deaths before we heard a definite reason. The chemistry behind toxicology of a deceased person takes physical time for the tests to come to proper conclusions. Unquestionably the death of Maria Elena Cruz is a huge tragedy because the accident was Kylie Rae’s fault. But I am not doing to write an article claiming Kylie Rae was drunk, because we don’t know that yet. We suspect she was. And that’s where it stands.
September 7, 2019 @ 8:14 am
Any word on Corbie’s father?
September 7, 2019 @ 8:26 am
Corbie’s father is a man named Jeremy Watkins, and he is still in the picture. From my understanding, he and Kylie Rae were on good terms, and my guess is he will receive custody along with Kylie Rae’s mother.
September 7, 2019 @ 8:52 am
Good to know. Thanks for the update.
September 10, 2019 @ 5:46 pm
Police definitely said speeding. And texting. Even if drinking isn’t involved she caused this 16 year old girl to die. Audacity of her having a money page blows my mind.
September 6, 2019 @ 8:54 am
Tragic she was a gifted singer songwriter of the highest order and to lose her talent so young is heartbreaking. God be with everyone involved and their families especially that little 6 year old girl. I hope everyone can respectfully let the alcohol angle lay until something official is released anything else is very unfair.
Strait Country 81
September 7, 2019 @ 10:40 am
I mean she did plea guilty to drunk driving in 2017 something I just found out.
Strait Country 81
September 7, 2019 @ 10:43 am
September 7, 2019 @ 10:52 am
The Daily Mail, and established tabloid, exploited the death of these two women for click bait, and have whipped elements of the public into a frenzy unnecessarily. That’s why we’re seeing some of these comments here and elsewhere. Kyle Rae Harris spoke publicly about her law problems in the past. She put it in her press releases. It doesn’t make it right, and I am in no way trying to defend her actions whatsoever. She made a grave mistake, and it cost multiple lives. Bu this was an accident, not a murder.
September 8, 2019 @ 2:03 am
Buying chunky peanut butter when you wanted smooth is an accident. Illegally passing a vehicle over a double line at the crest of a hill and then realizing you don’t have enough room to pass and clipping the truck in front of you before careening into the opposite lane and killing the driver isn’t an accident. It’s a deliberate act that resulted in the death of a 16 year old girl with a bright future in front of her. She also deprived her own 6 year old daughter of a mother. Had Kylie lived, she’d be facing manslaughter charges. Don’t write off her actions as a “mistake” or an “accident”. She knew what she was doing and didn’t care about the consequences.
September 8, 2019 @ 8:41 am
Kyle Rae Harris did not intentionally kill Maria Elena Cruz. Negligence is not the same as malicious intent. Both are punishable by law. But what happened in this traffic situation was an accident because Kylie Rae Harris clearly did not intend to kill herself and Cruz. These are legal terms that are critical to understand when considering a case like this. This is not an attempt to exonerate any guilt from Kyle Rae Harris whatsoever. But nobody was murdered. Two people died senselessly, and that is Kyle Rae’s fault. But it wasn’t her intent. And there is a big difference in the character of someone acting negligently, and someone acting with malicious intent. Unfortunately in this case the outcome doesn’t change.
September 10, 2019 @ 5:57 pm
If Kylie had lived she would be charged for manslaughter. She chose to drive this way. She chose to speed. She chose to film live on Instagram. She chose to pass that car. Maria was following the right way to drive. She didn’t have a choice. Kylie had choices and made bad ones. Yes she killed that young girl who was buried today. And Fox, MSN, CNN reported that she was the cause.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
September 8, 2019 @ 6:04 am
This is a bullshit statement. The only other article I’ve read besides SCM’s is the one posted online by the paper in Taos and based on on-the-scene reporting. This woman is suspected by law enforcement, based on evidence at the scene, of drunk driving. Even if she wasn’t drunk she would have been charged with reckless driving manslaughter, if she had survived. Best you keep your mouth shut about this Kyle, and best you stop defending your article lionizing this artist. All you’re doing is making it worse for the victims’ families (the teenager who died and Harris’ little girl, not Harris). People who are repentant dont issue press releases about their sins. Entertainers who do that are trying to burnish their outlaw image.
September 9, 2019 @ 3:27 pm
Suspected =/= guilty. He is waiting until the details are official, which is what good journalism requires.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
September 9, 2019 @ 9:17 pm
“Waiting until the details are official” should also delay all fawning eulogies.
September 10, 2019 @ 6:03 pm
Read Fox CNN bunch of newspapers now. She was speeding and filming live on Instagram. Had prior DUI and speeding tickets. Maria’s dad is a responder and was at accident. Can you imagine how horrible that was? Kylie made bad decisions and it killed Maria. Can’t dispute that.
September 10, 2019 @ 5:51 pm
What about the speeding and filming live on Instagram while driving. Both probably caused the accident. Police confirmed both. Her mother said she had drinking issues. Either way it’s her fault.
September 6, 2019 @ 9:15 am
There is a GoFundMe set up for the teen girl who was also killed in the accident.
September 6, 2019 @ 9:26 am
Thank you for sharing. I compared the amount raised by this GoFundMe compared to the other one. Hopefully they will balance out.
September 10, 2019 @ 6:06 pm
Maria’s Go Fund Page is closed. The family said they had what they needed. 26,000.
September 6, 2019 @ 7:51 pm
Really, what about Maria Elena’s life, Ms. Harris was not the victim, she caused the accident (drinking and driving, texting and posting). Had it been a Taos resident they’d would have already been dragged through social media!
Strait Country 81
September 6, 2019 @ 8:36 pm
Donated to both earlier
September 6, 2019 @ 9:22 am
I will say this has made me appreciate the women in this scene more. I listened to her music but didn’t play her stuff the way I should compared to how talented she was. There are not alot of women in the Texas scene so losing someone like that is extra tough. I am trying to listen to Sarah Hobbs and Courtney Patton, Kaitlyn Butts, Bri Bagwell, and Kenna Danielle along with others more here on out. They need the support these male artists do. It shouldn’t take death for people to finally hear your songs as a women in this scene..
September 6, 2019 @ 9:29 am
Does anyone really know if Kylie was drinking? She didn’t appear to be drinking on her instagram post. Hell, I was drinking and driving when I was 15. Maybe it was one of the other drivers? She said she had been driving for 12 hours and she was crying. That will get you in a wreck right there. I’m just wondering if anyone really knows for sure.
September 6, 2019 @ 10:04 am
The police are saying that Kylie Rae was speeding, clipped another car in front of her, ended up in the wrong lane, and hit the car with the 16-year-old head on. They suspect alcohol is involved, but won’t know for sure until a toxicology report since Kylie is deceased. This usually takes five weeks or more because of the nature of tox screenings. Also, the “alcohol involved” is attributed to Kylie, not of the other two drivers. But again, since the 16-year-old is deceased, a full autopsy and tox screen will likely be done.
September 9, 2019 @ 8:26 am
I doubt that they would say that they suspect alcohol without very good reason.
September 6, 2019 @ 4:20 pm
I’m I’m willing to believe that we may never know the level of 15 did she hadn’t 12 hour drive and the things that she had to do before the weekend of music, and excitement, and the last minute things that she may have felt you needed to do apparently she was in route to Questa for something….. we don’t know. I’m here in Taos she’s front of the family and there’s an element of towels that most people don’t understand but hear about it is a magical place. If you are out of rhythm and certainly if you’re young it’s very easy to cross pads with Miss Fortune weather small or large is it deeply personal thing it does not necessarily have to involve drugs or alcohol. Certainly the young should be protected with prayer when they travel…. and anyone coming here should respect the spirits that remind and these mountains
Strait Country 81
September 6, 2019 @ 10:16 am
Still feel bad for her kid and felt bad for Kylie but not nearly as bad as I originally did knowing she is likely to blame.
September 6, 2019 @ 11:00 am
Thank you for acknowledging the 16 year old -Maria Elena Cruz from San Cristóbal. She was the daughter of Pedro Cruz, the deputy chief of the San Cristóbal Volunteer Fire Department, who responded to the crash.Can you imagine being a father who responds to his own daughters fatal crash. So tragic and unnecessary all around.
September 6, 2019 @ 2:33 pm
Brings to mind the song “David” by Cody Jinks.
September 6, 2019 @ 2:48 pm
September 6, 2019 @ 11:04 am
Sad fate. Northern NM is arguably my favourite region in the U.S. Have been there many times and always yearn to return. It is a very special place. RIP Kylie.
September 6, 2019 @ 11:39 am
Poignant column. I’ve spent some time in Taos, years ago, and the roads seemed perilous even then. I doubt conditions have improved.
Here’s the Taos News article discussing what is known so far:
If you value your peace of mind, don’t wade into the article’s reader comments. People will say anything these days. Were I a member of either grieving family, I’d stop reading “reader comments” forever.
September 6, 2019 @ 12:42 pm
very nice article. I’m proud to say I was a fan before this happened. it’s a shame she didn’t have a wider audience. Who’s writing the screen play? sounds like a good job for you.
September 6, 2019 @ 12:55 pm
i didn’t know this singer but I’m struck once again by the senseless loss of the young people involved. It amazes me beyond words that these tragedies keep happening when they are almost COMPLETELY UNAVOIDABLE .
a vehicle ….any and every vehicle , needs to be equipped with two things . one is a breathalyzer unit which will not allow the vehicle to start if the driver blows over the limit .
the second piece of equipment is even easier to equip vehicles with and arguably even MORE necessary by the day in these ‘ addictive cell phone use ‘ scenarios .
why does a cell phone still work while a car is running ? A simple device to block signal until a driver pulls over and turns of the engine is a fix that could save thousands upon thousands of people -often INNOCENT victims- from a senseless death and still allow access to the phone .
we read about these tragedies daily and yet NOTHING has been done to address impaired driving outside of monetay fines ( if caught) . these penalties do NOTHING to address the addictive nature of this irresponsible behaviour . these are relatively simple precautions that would virtually eliminate the heartbreak and the loss in these completely avoidable tragedies . They’ve all but eliminated smoking in public places in Canada . And yet we allow behaviour that is far more irresponsible and life-threatening to continue when there IS a solution .
September 6, 2019 @ 12:57 pm
”completely AVOIDABLE …….”
September 6, 2019 @ 4:01 pm
I can see your point, but I would point out a couple things.
#1, people are not a fan of “punishing” the innocent and much like the gun debate, puting a breathalyzer in every vehicle would stir up a lot of anger that the only people being punished are those that never drink and drive.
#2, making a cellphone not work while the car is operational is simply not feasible. It would hurt business, the economy, and would prevent passengers from using their phone while someone else drives.
The harsh reality is this singer did an incredibly stupid, selfish, and criminal act that claimed the life of an innocent. Sadly the media (not this site) has ignored that point in much of the initial coverage.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
September 6, 2019 @ 4:44 pm
Actually, this site HAS ignored that point.
September 7, 2019 @ 12:18 am
”#2, making a cellphone not work while the car is operational is simply not feasible. It would hurt business, the economy, and would prevent passengers from using their phone while someone else drives.”
with all due respect , mike ……these are weak points . pull over , turn your car off and do ‘business ‘ . passengers will have to wait . the idea is that far too many people are being killed or injured due to addictive cell phone usage while driving and this doesn’t have to be the case .
here in british columbia the police do random road checks to determine if someone is fit to drive or if they are impaired . you could argue that this isn’t fair to someone who never drinks and drives . but everyone is mature and responsible enough to understand WHY this is done and there is no issues …its a great thing and most certainly saves lives .
September 7, 2019 @ 2:32 pm
B.C. and Canada in general have a more liberal attitude towards sacrificing individual rites for the greater good. I don’t see lots of folks from Lower Alabama being excited by the idea of having to blow into a tube to start their car. Right or wrong, lots of Americans would flip out at that idea.
And the cell phone thing is just not feasible. Long-haul truckers are not going to pull over and shut their rig down to call about a load. It would have a massive impact on their efficiency and would speed up the push for autonomous vehicles by the private sector.
People like Harris will find a way to do stupid, selfish things regardless of what law you create, because that’s what stupid, selfish people do. I would like to see significantly stiffer penalties for distracted driving, including automatic prison time. But I know that probably won’t fix things alone.
September 9, 2019 @ 11:03 am
your opening line segues perfectly, and speaks to currently accessible Statistics by the Global Peace Index ranking 163 Countries from safest to least safest with Iceland being #1 and Afghanistan being #163.
Canada, with our willingness to “sacrifice individual rights for the greater good”, ranked #6 with USA ranked #118, well below many second and third world Countries.I think Canadians collective ideology is in no way a pejorative as you are want to suggest here~the loud and proud segment of USA who is forever railing “Second Ammendment Rights” are seemingly needing to recalibrate their mindset,
the struggle is real…
September 12, 2019 @ 4:36 am
Silly person. Iceland is #1 on the global peace index because they never defend anyone. It’s usually the US and the UK defending the free and not so free worlds while the rest of the world reap the benefits.
See how far off course you are?
September 10, 2019 @ 9:37 pm
I just wondered about making 911 calls. If someone is following you or your scared or someone in your vehicle has a life threatening situation you dont want to pull over and turn your call off. There has to be technology that would allow 911 calls.
September 6, 2019 @ 2:59 pm
Trigger, once again you demonstrate why you have the audience you have.
September 7, 2019 @ 6:43 am
All phones have an accelerometer and can tell how fast the phone is moving. I don’t know about Android devices, but iPhones use this for a “do not disturb while driving” type feature that will automatically send a text to anyone who messages or calls while you are driving letting them know that’s why you’re not answering. So it is entirely feasible, currently available and actually ships with this feature activated. The problem is, people turn it off because they choose to text and drive.
September 7, 2019 @ 2:38 pm
Which is great if you are driving, but will be automatically be turned off if you are a passenger. When was the last time you rode in a car with someone (as a passenger) for a significant period of time and didn’t look at your phone?
I’m not saying the technology doesn’t exist, I’m saying it isn’t feasible to “brick” phones in a car. It would require a dramatic re-wiring of society and the economy and we all know how great people are at adjusting to change….
September 8, 2019 @ 10:51 am
”a dramatic re-wiring of society….”
its generally , if not always legally , accepted that cell phone use is addictive behaviour..at least here in Canada. schools in ontario have recently ruled to ban their use in classrooms completely . some universities/colleges allow a 10 minute ‘ window’ for their use midway through a class …then off again .
yes …..I think we all agree society needs to be rewired to properly address this addictive behaviour . but wherever money / profits are concerned legislating this rewiring will indeed be challenging . unfortunately , as with cigarettes , it will take more deaths and lawsuits before people and governments get the message and do something about it . smoking is virtually banned everywhere in Canada now from pubs to restaurants to patios and beaches so e ARE capable of doing the right , responsible thing.
perhaps we’ll see auto-drive cars with more and more safety features sooner than an all out ban on cell phone use-age while driving and this will address any and all impaired driving scenarios . it comes down to the value we put on human life as opposed to the dollar and our addictive behaviours .
September 6, 2019 @ 4:41 pm
Kylie had a history of drunk driving and speeding with multiple convictions as recently as 2017. I pray for the precious teenage girl she killed who isn’t getting any attention and whose family will receive limited money while K’s daughter will get almost 100k. The world is a crazy place.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
September 6, 2019 @ 4:42 pm
This article is incredibly premature and dare I say sickening considering the facts and official reports surrounding this case. This article neglects to mention that Harris is the one suspected of being intoxicated, that she had a previous DWI conviction, and she was court-ordered to have a breathalyzer lock on her ignition. If she had survived the crash she would be charged with murder or manslaughter at the least. Trigger pulled the trigger too fast on this “poetic” ending. This is not poetic one bit. A 16 year old died because of the actions of an irresponsible adult who couldn’t even stay on the straight and narrow for her daughter. Now one child’s life has been snuffed out and another’s has been shattered because of a reckless woman.
Bigfoot is Real
September 6, 2019 @ 5:31 pm
Beautifully written post. As a side note many years ago Doug Sahm passed in Taos.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
September 6, 2019 @ 5:55 pm
Fuck this site and fuck the coverage of this accident.
September 6, 2019 @ 10:32 pm
I can only imagine the anger that people in Taos, and especially people who knew Maria Elena Cruz feel over this situation, and especially how so much love poured out to Kylie Ray initially with little regard for the innocent victim involved. They have every right to be angry. I did my best to offer context, and to help reset country fans to look at the the bigger picture and also remember Maria Elena Cruz. But I completely understand how it may not be enough for some people. Nothing will ever be enough. She is gone, and senselessly.
September 10, 2019 @ 6:13 pm
On Maria’s closed Go Fund page it says she was killed by a, drunk driver. Maybe they do know something we don’t. Maybe police found a bottle in the car.
September 6, 2019 @ 7:13 pm
I did not read where this was specifically addressed either. Only that alcohol was involved but not referencing who. Maybe I missed it as well.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said, “”At this time I will say with most certainty that [the 16-year-old] was an innocent victim of this senseless crash caused by Ms. Harris,” as reported by the TaosNews.com and The Tennessean. Not that hard to find.
Court records indicate that Harris had a history of drinking and driving. In June 2017, she was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after records indicated she had a blood alcohol content level of over 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit. Harris was convicted in October 2017 and was ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in her car.
A six year old is now bereft of her mother and a 16 year old is gone far too soon.
A sad life and a sadder end.
Best wishes for a happier future for her daughter. Heartbreak for the 16 year old’s family. Mourning the loss of a talented up and coming performer.
September 6, 2019 @ 10:27 pm
Fifth paragraph in the article clearly states:
“Somebody else died in Taos on September 5th, 2019 in the same accident that took the life of Kylie Rae Harris. A 16-year-old girl from San Cristóbal named Maria Elena Cruz also passed away. She wasn’t famous (though neither was Kylie Rae until her death), but her life was just as significant, and just as precious as Kylie Rae’s or any of ours. Her family and friends mourn and grieve similar to country fans, but there’s no national community like country music to come together to morn her loss, and fill up the coffers of a GoFundMe campaign. Maria Elena’s father is Pedro Cruz, the deputy chief of the San Cristóbal Volunteer Fire Department, who responded to the crash. Alcohol has been cited as a factor in the accident, though officials are waiting on a toxicology report to make a final determination.”
The latest report, posted SIX HOURS after this article was posted, still clearly states, “The Sheriff’s Office also said alcohol was suspected as a contributing factor as well, but investigators are awaiting a toxicology report from the Office of the Medical Investigator.”
We will likely not know for six weeks whether Kyle Rae Harris was drunk during the accident. If I were to guess, I would say that she probably was. But we do not know that at this point. We definitely know the accident was her fault, and I stated this in even greater detail in a subsequent comment. To say that I avoided discussing the 16-year-old victim and that alcohol was considered a factor is incorrect.
This was not a news story. I am not on the ground in Taos to report the facts. Guilty or not, lives were lost, and those lives deserve to be remembered. BOTH of them. That’s what I did in this article.
September 6, 2019 @ 10:40 pm
Also, I have clarified the article to make sure there is no question that the accident was Kylie Rae Harris’s fault.
September 6, 2019 @ 7:41 pm
Seems just like Fernandez and Skaggs, the one that everyone mourns turns out to be directly responsible for their early demise. But if anyone mentions the dangerous hagiography that arises, they are shouted down as insensitive.
Quit making martyrs out of sinners until the facts are released.
September 6, 2019 @ 8:04 pm
So she is a murderer?
That’s nice. Praise her some more.
September 8, 2019 @ 8:01 am
It’s actually not ‘murder’ even if is her fault and even if she was drunk. Murder has intent and this was clearly and accident, not murder.
September 7, 2019 @ 5:47 am
Oh! Poor Kylie, everyone says. Bull crap! She was apparently DRIVING DRUNK, SPEEDING and likely TEXTING AND DRIVING, and according to police, ” investigators believe Harris caused Wednesday’s crash and that speed appeared to be a contributing factor when she clipped the back of another vehicle, sending her into oncoming traffic. She then crashed head-on into an SUV driven by the teenage Cruz.”
And if killing a innocent 16 year old girl, isn’t bad enough, that girl’s father worked for the fire department and was on the call to the accident, only to find his daughter was killed in the accident. It just doesn’t get any worse than this, and most of the emphasis is Kylie’s death! What about the 16 year old girl, who never lived long enough experience what Kylie did. Kylie also wasn’t thinking of her own six year-old daughter when she made her fatal decisions, listed in bold, above.
September 7, 2019 @ 10:50 am
“Somebody else died in Taos on September 5th, 2019 in the same accident that took the life of Kylie Rae Harris. A 16-year-old girl from San Cristóbal named Maria Elena Cruz also passed away.”
LOL! The accident didn’t take the life of Maria Elena Cruz. Harris took her life. And I never heard of a case where police say alcohol was involved and they were wrong. Usually they find bottles/cans at the scene. Harris was a piece of shit person. Glad she’s gone. Too bad she took someone else with her.
September 7, 2019 @ 12:25 pm
What a disgusting thing to say. Have some compassion for goodness sake. Two lives have been lost and many more changed forever because of a mistake. Think about Kylie’s young daughter who may well find herself reading vile comments like yours when she is older. How do,you imagine that innocent girl will feel reading it? As for your pathetic LOL, this is nothing to laugh about and you should be ashamed of yourself.
September 7, 2019 @ 1:54 pm
What I said is nowhere near as disgusting as Harris. Why would I have compassion for her? Drinking, texting and speeding while driving is not a “mistake”. Even take out the texting part…she had complete and total disregard for the rights of others. I see these self centered assholes every day and I wish I would see them wrecked on the side of the road. I’d pass right by without alerting anyone. I do not care about such people. I think her daughter is probably better off in the long run. Her mother recklessly took the life of someone else’s daughter. Oh well, daughter will have to read vile comments. Maria Elena Cruz will never read anything again. You may not like my comments but I guarantee you would rather share the road with ME than take your chances with someone like Harris. All this poetic rhapsodizing over a moral deviant is sickening.
September 7, 2019 @ 2:36 pm
I meant compassion for all involved. Mistake or not, Kylie paid the ultimate price for her actions. It is utterly tragic that Maria Elena also died, and that fault appears to lie with Kylie but this is not her daughter’s fault.
September 8, 2019 @ 7:09 am
Why should you have compassion???? Because we should all have compassion for the entire situation. We will all need the compassion of others at some time in our lives. We will all need forgiveness for the things we have done. Just as you will. You may not have done this EXACT thing you are being so judgmental about, but tomorrow could be the day that you make a mistake of some kind that results in a fatality. Should your family and friends shun you at that point? Dismiss the love they feel for you? Condemn you? NO. They will still love you, value you, and support you even though you’ve made a mistake. Because that’s what decent people do and that’s what Kylie Ray’s friends and family are doing. No doubt, every single one of their hearts is also breaking for Maria Cruz and her family. But you can not possibly expect them not to honor their friend, with whom they had a lifetime of love and positive experiences with, because of one moment in time. And yes, the results of that moment are horrific, but it doesn’t (and you surely wouldn’t want it to if it was you who made the mistake) wipe away every positive contribution Kylie Ray ever made to this earth. We will all experience judgement and we will all need forgiveness and compassion. And if we want those things, we should offer them to others when they need them. It’s the right thing to do, whether you are a religious person or not. But if you are religious, it is something you must do.
September 8, 2019 @ 8:48 am
It wasn’t a mistake. She’s done this before. How many times has she done it without being caught? The world needs more judgment….not less. And yes, this reckless disregard for the lives of others does wipe out anything positive about her. Tired of seeing assholes like her on the road. A mistake is when you balance your bank account wrong…NOT speeding, drinking, texting while driving a car.
September 7, 2019 @ 3:21 pm
Drunk driver is all she should be remembered for. Condolences to the young lady she killed and her daughter she didn’t care about.
September 7, 2019 @ 8:04 pm
O.K. Thanks for the clarification.
September 8, 2019 @ 6:16 pm
Two people losing their lives is still a Tragedy! To those who are callously saying mean things and trying to assign blame:
Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. Plato
Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself. Leo Tolstoy
To express hostility without consequence is to be an anonymous coward. Thomas Troxler
P.S. Well written article!
September 9, 2019 @ 8:16 am
Pretty high highfalutin language there in support of a killer.
September 9, 2019 @ 4:05 pm
I always prefer to believe the best of everybody–it saves so much trouble. Rudyard Kipling
September 9, 2019 @ 1:14 pm
You just HAD to say something huh, Chief?
September 9, 2019 @ 4:03 pm
It’s better to keep quite and be thought a fool, than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt. Lincoln
September 9, 2019 @ 4:39 am
This post is really romanticizing a crime to the point it’s irresponsible. This isn’t some misfortune, it was caused by reckless driving (take out alcohol aspect for now), all while obsessively Instagramming and wallowing in her own sorrows. That’s great she had nice feelings on Taos, the actual community is who suffered because of her. She must have known she’d be lucky to make it 20 years with her record (and not the musical kind) but she didn’t have to kill a child along the way. ETA While I understand this article posted (and btw is a first hit in a google search of KRH) before facts were confirmed it only highlights the issue more: first reaction was to make assumptions and leave the 16 yr old nameless. We DID know this singer had been instagramming, texting while driving – remember “current sitch”?? How about eyes on road not the phone. Foolish selfish and risky was already established even only 6 hours in.
September 9, 2019 @ 8:13 am
Easy to assign blame in this case. Obviously, Harris did not think of changing HERSELF, LOL. If she had thought of it, no fatal accident. I see assholes like her on the road every day. They’re dangerous. Don’t deserve any slack. They’re selfish and fucked up. And others pay the price.
September 9, 2019 @ 10:13 am
This is such a sad story. My heart goes out to all affected.
September 9, 2019 @ 1:11 pm
I’m not sure what’s so touching about her story as you say in your last paragraph? A drunk single mother who happens to be a dime a dozen singer-songwriter gets behind the wheel and causes an accident that takes her own life and the life of a 16 year old girl? Am I missing something? I think the death of the 16 year old girl Maria is more of a reminder to cherish life and your loved ones than the careless decisions of what’s her name who decided to whip down the interstate drunk causing a fatal crash. Your words don’t fit the picture here.
September 9, 2019 @ 1:14 pm
Yes, it seems you missed the 5th paragraph.
Also, there are no interstates in Taos, NM.
September 9, 2019 @ 1:18 pm
Also, if you want to know a little more about “what’s her name,” go read the social media posts from Jason Eady, Jamie Lin Wilson, and dozens others. Start here:
September 9, 2019 @ 4:16 pm
September 9, 2019 @ 1:27 pm
Nope, I read it. It is quite the strange transition between that paragraph and then on to your lamentations about her career and how touching the story of what’s her name and her death is in the final paragraph. I know you’re a good writer but it is really a bizzarre way to conclude this article given everything we know so far.
September 9, 2019 @ 4:19 pm
September 9, 2019 @ 7:28 pm
These comment make me sick to my stomach. NONE OF YOU WERE THERE. They DONT KNOW YET if alcohol is in her system. She had been driving for 12 hours. Exhausted. NO ONE KNOWS if she was ACTUALLY texting and driving at the time of the accident. Its all speculation based off of things that she had done at RANDOM times throughout her ENTIRE 30 years of life. NONE OF YOU WERE THERE. The judgement and bullshit is shameful. For every single one of you saying hateful things about a woman that died, fault or not, please raise your hand if youve NEVER MADE A MISTAKE IN YOUR LIFE. How dare you act if you’ve never texted and drove, hurt someone, crossed a line. The world is a SICK place when people who are angry and mad, turn and point fingers out of pure speculation. TWO WOMEN DIED AND THEIR FAMILIES ARE GRIEVING. Your hateful words for the situation arent HEALING ANYONE. Throw stones all you want. But pray you never have SOMEONE IN YOUR LIFE make any type of mistake and get this type of DISGUSTING hatred toward you or them. This is just one of many forums that people have lashed out on. IMAGINE if you were her daughter who someday had to find these words. Words you will never remember saying. IMAGINE if this young girl who died, is THIS how she, out of living this bright new future everyone is speaking into, would want you to talk about another person? Your opinions on the matter DO NOT MATTER. What does, is the loss and mourning of two WONDERFUL people. Your hate filled hearts are not bringing any justice to the situation. Hiding behind some name so you cant post aimlessly about someone you NEVER knew and speak about them like you did, is hatred. YOU ARE FUELING HATRED. Remember that the next time you decide to be-raid someones character off something you read on the internet. And pray to God it never happens to you.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
September 9, 2019 @ 9:40 pm
Mbirdsong you’re an ignorant individual. You’re posting behind “some name” just like everyone else here. The “random things she had done” were serious enough to get her penalized in every way short of prison. I’ve MADE MANY MISTAKES IN MY LIFE, but I never killed a teenager. She didn’t “hurt someone”. She killed a child. “Two women” did not die in this collision. One woman killed a kid in this collision. If I or anyone in my family did the same, we would rightfully be written off. As for Harris’ daughter — she will have more to worry about than internet reactions to her mother’s mistakes. And she will most likely have a better perspective on right and wrong because of this situation. But Harris already displayed her character by choosing to do what she did during her short life. I dont pray to God that I dont make the same mistakes. I pray to God to forgive me for the mistakes I will inevitably make and I take responsibility for those mistakes — just as Harris should take responsibility in life and death. And the uproar is about this post being blind to the realities of this incident at the cost of the innocent. Period.
September 10, 2019 @ 5:03 pm
The police said there was evidence at the scene pointing to alcohol. I’ll take their word for it. Harris was not a wonderful person as you state. She drove recklessly with no concern for the rights of others.
September 9, 2019 @ 9:09 pm
It’s not just alcohol consumption or texting or posting while driving that are dangerous, but also, driving while exhausted and/or substantially distressed. People really need to be less confident of their abilities, especially in the case of those like Harris who obviously had a history of documented problems with judgment, including her drinking problems (e.g., her convictions), plus an aggravated assault charge. Reading about those, plus seeing all of the posed pictures and the instragramming right before her death, I’m left with the impression of another highly self-absorbed person whose ego, tearful at times or not, probably warped her practical judgment. Society suffers from this kind of carelessness driven by ego, pained or not. Whether or not she was talented, artistic license or an artist’s lifestyle doesn’t come close to justifying this ‘collateral damage,’ i.e. the careless death of another person at her hands.
September 12, 2019 @ 7:07 am
An Unspeakable Tragedy- Yes, so let’s speak of it no more.
September 23, 2019 @ 1:22 pm
So it looks like the first bit of evidence has come back in this case and the Sheriff’s department was able to gt a warrant and get the vehicle data recorders. Kylie Rae was traveling 102 mph when she clipped the first car and her sped was 95 mph when she hit the young girl head on.