Toxicology Confirms Kylie Rae Harris Intoxicated During Fatal Crash
Texas country star Kylie Rae Harris was over three times the legal limit with a blood alcohol level of .28 when she caused a fatal crash that took her life, and the life of 16-year-old Maria Elena Cruz in a three-vehicle accident in Taos, NM on September 4th, 2019. In the official autopsy and toxicology report obtained by Saving Country Music, Medical Investigator Lori Proe of the New Mexico University School of Medicine confirms Kylie Rae’s degree of inebriation, and that she died due to blunt force trauma during the accident. No other drugs or intoxicants were found in Kylie Rae’s system at the time.
The fatal accident occurred September 4th on State Road 522 near Milepost 1 in Taos. According to police and computer data from Kylie Rae’s Chevrolet Equinox, Harris was traveling at 102 mph when she struck a Chevrolet Avalanche in front of her in the southbound lane. This caused Kylie Rae’s vehicle to swerve into the northbound lane where she struck the Jeep SUV of Maria Elena Cruz head on at a speed of 95 mph, killing both drivers instantly. Maria Elena Cruz was driving 51 mph during the time of the collision. The third driver was uninjured in the accident.
Kylie Rae Harris was in the northern New Mexico town to play the Big Barn Dance on September 5th. Maria Elena Cruz was a student at Taos High School, and was from nearby San Crostobal. Maria Elena Cruz’s father, Pedro Cruz, was a deputy fire chief for the San Crostobal Volunteer Fire Department, and was one of the first responders to the accident where he learned his daughter had been killed.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe had suspected both alcohol and speed had contributed to the fatal crash for the initial investigation, but the toxicology confirms alcohol played a major role in the accident. Kylie Rae Harris also had a previous 2017 conviction for DWI in Texas.
“The now completed investigation supports what we suspected at the time of our initial investigation,” Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said in a press release Thursday (12-5) afternoon.
December 5, 2019 @ 6:26 pm
Praying for all families involved.
December 5, 2019 @ 6:29 pm
“Kylie Rae Harris also had a previous 2017 conviction in for DWI Texas and had been court-ordered to install an ignition interlock device on her vehicle at the time.”
So the court order must have expired?
December 5, 2019 @ 8:27 pm
one doesn’t get full reinstatement of one’s drivers license, unless and until there is some sort of legal administrative hearing that grants the person the reinstatement. Whether the device has [expired] or not is one of a bunch of considerations that goes toward the decision regarding the former issue.
Cool Lester Smooth
December 5, 2019 @ 6:52 pm
So she killed a fucking kid rather than calling a goddamn Uber.
How long till she’s due for sainthood?
December 6, 2019 @ 12:06 am
Not smooth mate. Seriously it was a tragedy, she fucked up big time and innocent people died.
And everyone has at some point fucked up and people could have died, she was the one that the statistics got.
No she’s not a saint. But if we try to make everything a cause for agression then people will get drunk and do dumb things.
And maybe if people were nicer we wouldn’t need Ubers because nice people would give them lifts.
Tragic to all involved, but the solution isn’t criticism. I don’t know the answer, but love and caring can’t hurt.
Btw, I’m not some pansy loving hippie, I’m a redneck builder with guns and 4wds.
December 6, 2019 @ 4:41 am
You sound like someone who’s in the throes of the disease–all denial and rationalization–but just won’t admit it yet. She made a dumb decision and deserves to be criticized. Blithely explaining it away as a lack of kindness certainly isn’t the answer.
Being pissed off might be–if it keeps you from ever making the same decision or letting others do the same.
P.S. Congratulations on the guns and truck!
Cool Lester Smooth
December 6, 2019 @ 5:16 am
Yeah, I don’t think there’s too much room for equivocation, here.
A child is dead because of what she chose to do.
That’s the long and short of it.
December 6, 2019 @ 6:19 am
Also, her young child has lost her mother. I’m guessing she loved her. And her family and friends have to deal not only with the loss of one of their one, but also with the knowledge that her reckless actions resulted in the death of an innocent young person.
December 6, 2019 @ 9:12 am
As someone who almost died in a rollover crash when some drunk asshole merged into our lane (Severely and permanently disfugring my friend and my wife), FUCK HER!
I hope she is in hell somewhere roasting for her mistake. She killed a kid, selfish and self involved as she was.
No sympathy for her, much sympathy to the other families.
December 6, 2019 @ 11:28 am
“And maybe if people were nicer we wouldn’t need Ubers because nice people would give them lifts.”
Ok great. But if you’re in a situation where you can’t afford an Uber and you don’t have friends to give you a lift, you shouldn’t drink in a place that you can’t sleep it off.
December 6, 2019 @ 12:23 pm
Or lets all be this ideal person who never makes mistakes and lets not drink at all because no matter where you are you may be putting someone at risk.
Alcohol is a nasty thing. I’ve seen it ruin lives directly and indirectly and the reason I’ve spoken out here is because direct criticism of alcoholics only makes them more sneaky and depressed.
The world is a dangerous place. It sucks when people die, but pointing fingers is not helping anything.
Also, people who keep saying ‘uber’ must not live in a small town. Uber doesn’t exist where I am. There is a private taxi that you can’t guarantee you’ll get, and besides, your car is life. Kylie would have had all her music gear with her, it wasn’t an option.
Of course, she never should have had the first drink, but that’s alcoholism. One is one too many.
I understand that people who have been involved find it hard or impossible to forgive. But with all due respect, I would rather try to stop this happening again rather than use everyone who fucked up as a vent for our grief.
Peace. Also, last comment on the subject.
December 6, 2019 @ 5:16 pm
“Kylie would have had all her music gear with her, it wasn’t an option.”
Tell me you did not make that comment …
And, no, i will not argue this with you, at all.
Just want you to take another look at that
Cool Lester Smooth
December 7, 2019 @ 3:58 pm
I once got into my car after having one or two too many.
I drove about 50 yards, then pulled over to the side of the road, set an alarm for two hours, and slept in my back seat.
When I woke up, I was good to drive. If I hadn’t been, I’d have waited another hour.
There’s no excuse, and a good way to prevent this shit from happening in the future is to make that clear.
December 6, 2019 @ 8:00 am
You and I have had heated disagreements but you nailed this, Lester.
There should be no outcry for her canonization. She messed up and killed a child because she couldn’t act like an adult.
I don’t care how good of a singer she was.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
December 5, 2019 @ 6:54 pm
I’m not sure what your policy is on editing previous posts, but I think it would be responsible and appropriate for you to strike the post that very beautifully, but very inappropriately lionizes the “poetic ending” of Ms. Harris’ life. Its irresponsible at the least and an insult at the worst to the 16 year old and her surviving relatives for that article to still be available to read. You do great work Triggerman, but that was a misstep.
December 5, 2019 @ 8:21 pm
Jerry Clower’s Ghost,
I appreciate your concern and criticism.
My policy on editing previous posts is to only do it when there are factual or grammatical errors that need to be corrected, not as a way to cover my tracks or eliminate embarrassing moments in hindsight. I believe that would be completely irresponsible and inappropriate, and unethical. I especially would not strike an entire post. Also, eliminating content often fuels criticism as opposed to satisfying it, as people use this as an indication that you’re trying to hide something. Otherwise, there is probably a lot of stuff I would eliminate from this website. But I keep everything archived, warts and all.
What I said in that post were my words and my thoughts at that time, and I take responsibility for them. In hindsight, yes, I probably should have waited a little longer to address the situation until more facts were in place. But as we see, it took over 90 days before we had the final conclusions.
And despite the horrendous decisions that cost Kylie Rae Harris and an innocent 16-year-old her life, I still believe that every life is important, and should be remembered. There are a lot of lessons we can all learn from the death of Kylie Rae Harris, and a lot of lessons I will take from it personally. But I won’t be going back and trying to rewrite the past. Because that’s the first step in making the same mistakes again.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
December 6, 2019 @ 5:55 am
I respect your answer, and there’s no way to change the past, but how many young ladies who aspire to be a singer like Harris will come across that article and want to emulate her? Artists very often are tortured beings, and just like all of us, they have their heroes to whom they compare their career and life. How many singers with mental issues are gonna read your article and think, “Well, at least I’ll be remembered”? In other words, I’m asking you to consider the lives that your article will affect, not how your reputation as a writer will be affected. I’m not trying to be a jerk. I just dont think journalistic integrity should win out against an existential harm to fragile psyches.
December 6, 2019 @ 9:21 am
“….but how many young ladies who aspire to be a singer like Harris will come across that article and want to emulate her?”
None. If you google Kylie Rae Harris, the first and virtually only thing that will come up now and forever will be how she killed herself and a 16-year-old girl due to driving drunk, and left a young daughter behind. If people want to “emulate” her, that’s on them. There is nothing in my reporting that would condone that course of action. You’re giving way too much credit to me, and very little credit to the personal responsibility we all have for our own actions.
December 11, 2019 @ 7:39 pm
Any type of praise to a person who kills a child, on purpose or accidentally, is irresponsible, unwarranted, and unwelcome in a civilized society. Any argument contrary to that is callous and ill conceived.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
December 11, 2019 @ 7:45 pm
Basically your strategy for your original report should have been the same as it was for this post — all facts and no fawning industry clickbait, that we saw with insulting omissions, in your original post before you edited it to dull your insensitivity towards the victim of the manslaughter.
December 12, 2019 @ 9:53 am
First, the article you’re referring to was not my “original post.” This was my original post:
Second, my second article on this incident was not a “report.” It was a remembrance. As I’ve said before, perhaps knowing the facts as we do today, it would have taken a different tone.
Third, this post is now over a week old, folks have moved on, and you’re still here complaining. You said your peace and I’m glad you did. Your concerns have been logged. But I will not be going back and rewriting or deleting previous content, not for this issue, and not for any others.
December 5, 2019 @ 7:06 pm
It just boggles my mind that a grown woman, three decades on this planet no less, and mother with a young child would drive 102 mph while twice the legal limit. I’m not unfamiliar with alcoholism, including friends, and my own bouts of irresponsibility in my early 20’s, including driving when I should not have. But 102 mph? 30 years old? A mother? It’s hard not to categorize this as unbelievably selfish, taking an utterly innocent victim in the process.
December 5, 2019 @ 9:08 pm
You’re right. A lot of “zero tolerance” people insist that all drunk driving is the same. But it’s not. Just being over the limit-say, a b.a.c of .08%-to-.14%, but driving home carefully and within the speed limit is wrong. But it’s nowhere in the league–in culpability or dangerousness–of someone who gets severely drunk and uses that as a reason to drive recklessly, speed, weave between lanes, pass other vehicles and create a menace on the road.
Now, I don’t know about Kylie Rae–never heard of her before–but from this write-up it sounds like she was a highly reckless drunk driver.
December 8, 2019 @ 4:06 am
Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Don’t drink and get behind the wheel period, exclamation mark. Let’s stop trying to defend or rationalize actions that are not defendable.
North Woods Country
December 5, 2019 @ 10:24 pm
At .28 she was blackout drunk and essentially had no cognitive ability.
The reason we’re told not to drink and drive is represented in this accident–if you’re drunk enough you don’t even realize what you’re doing. This woman was not at the wheel consciously deciding anything. I don’t say that trying to absolve her–I’m just illustrating the reality of a .28 BAC.
December 6, 2019 @ 12:07 am
Actually it was three times the legal limit.
December 5, 2019 @ 7:24 pm
Sounds like suicide to me.
North Woods Country
December 5, 2019 @ 10:26 pm
No. She was so drunk she was incapable of deciding anything. This is why you give your keys to somebody.
December 6, 2019 @ 2:04 am
What do you mean? Were you in her head at the moment? People make the decision to off themselves all the time when they’re high.
December 5, 2019 @ 7:56 pm
This is an absolute tragedy. Thank the Lord Sam Hunt did not kill anyone. WHEN WILL PEOPLE LEARN?
December 5, 2019 @ 8:05 pm
My heart goes out to Pedro Cruz.
December 6, 2019 @ 4:39 am
I’m struggling with all the compassion for KRH on this one. “ it’s sad all around, she had demons, I was one time and drove drunk….” Pissed is the only acceptable response here. If it it happened a little differently and KRH, and a 16 YEAR OLD girl, were killed by an unknown drunk driver that had a previous record of DWI…..Would the reaction be the same? NOPE!
Just because her music touched us somehow it changed some people’s outlook.
December 6, 2019 @ 5:40 am
Damn horrible tragedy for all involved but nothing can be changed by all the venom being spewed towards Kylie Ray. Tragically this is what it is. Maybe somebody will look at this tragedy and make necessary changes in their life.
December 6, 2019 @ 8:03 am
The thing is if she made it home safety, it would have turned into a badass feat about how she survived just like how George Jones’ alcoholism entered into country lore as humorous anecdotes.
Drunk driving isn’t funny. I am not one for the snowflake mentality but too many people are cavalier about the effects of drunk driving.
December 6, 2019 @ 10:37 am
Eh. You see this in sports all the time.
There’s a “talent to asshole” ratio, where the more talented you are/recognition you have, the more a coach/team/owner/manager will deal with and manage your BS.
If Harris had survived, I don’t think anything would have changed too much. She got more “clicks” because of the tragic (for the innocent girl), fatal crash, not because of her talent or recognition. I’m not saying she wasn’t talented at all, but I would wager that most people only know her because of the accident.
Look at Felker and Turnpike. While he hasn’t been arrested for anything illegal yet, his career is still marred by his addiction struggles. Something that would have been lauded in the 70s-80s. And Turnpike/Felker is a helluva lot more talented than KRH was.
December 6, 2019 @ 11:00 am
December 6, 2019 @ 12:25 pm
Knowing that the accident could have been prevented had Kylie Rae Harris made better choices, makes this incident more tragic than it already was. We will never know what was going through her mind when she made the decision to drive that day and to guess would be unhelpful speculation. An innocent 16 year old girl lost her life and I can’t begin to imagine what the family of Maria Elena Cruz are going through, particularly her dad who had to respond at the accident scene. I do also feel for Kylie’s family. Yes, she was reckless for whatever reason, but this is not the fault of anyone but her. Both families are innocent victims. The question now is what can be done to prevent this from happening to others? I don’t claim to have all the answers, but harsher penalties for those who are caught would be a start. I don’t know much about addiction but it is possible Kylie may have made better choices had she been punished more harshly for her first DWI?
December 6, 2019 @ 12:47 pm
I’m a big fan of Trigger here but putting a cutesy picture of the drunk killer instead of Maria Cruz is a mistake.
You can put Kylie’s name in the headline but stop giving her a break/halfway glorifying her with some nice pic. If anything, put up the mugshot from her previous arrest or a picture of Maria.
December 6, 2019 @ 3:09 pm
1) The reason a 3-car, 2-fatality accident in Taos, New Mexico is relevant news to a country music site is because Kylie Rae Harris was involved. If I used a photo of Maria Cruz with the title of this article (or a similar one), it could be construed that Maria Cruz was Kylie Rae Harris. It was the correct decision to use a photo of Kylie Rae Harris.
2) By law, I can only post photos that I have permission to post. Otherwise I can be sued for Copyright infringement by the photographer. Unfortunately, I do not have permission to use any photos of Maria Cruz. This is the same reason I chose to use the photo of Kyle Rae Harris that I did, because it was made available to the press for editorial use. Wonder why you see the same photos for the same artists used over and over here, and sometimes other places? It’s because there are only a few photos available that the press can guarantee they have permission to post. I apologize if you find the photo of Kylie Rae Harris as “cute.” I simply used one of the few illustrations I have permission to use.
3) I reported on this story as dryly as possible. I totally understand and respect the emotional component of this topic, but please understand there was no way to report on this situation that would satisfy all parties, and if I hadn’t reported it at all, the criticism would have been even greater. I did the best I could.
December 6, 2019 @ 4:33 pm
Harris’s BAC was .28, three times over the legal limit. Here’s a description:
“BAC = .18-.25 = Drinkers are disoriented, confused, dizzy, and have exaggerated emotional states. Vision is disturbed, as is perception of color, form, motion, and dimensions.
Drinkers have increased pain threshold and lack of muscular coordination. Drinkers stagger or lose the ability to walk and have slurred speech. Apathy and lethargy are typical.”
If that isn’t bad enough, here’s where Harris was:
“BAC = .25-.30 = Drinkers display general inertia, near total loss of motor functions, little response to stimuli, inability to stand or walk, vomiting, and incontinence. Drinkers may lose consciousness or fall into a stupor.”
Harris was probably unconscious when she died, or close to it, and probably never felt a thing.
Maria Cruz was fully conscious and died in a complete and sudden terror.
December 6, 2019 @ 6:28 pm
Sam Hunt should count his lucky stars.
Atomic Zombie Redneck
December 7, 2019 @ 11:06 am
Blood alcohol level of .28 and going 102 mph. Holy shit. It wasn’t a matter of if her life would end in tragedy, just when. Who knows how many near misses she had before this accident?
December 7, 2019 @ 11:17 pm
sad deal all around, don’t get messed up and drive folks.
December 8, 2019 @ 4:29 pm
Wow. No sympathy for this broad.