Autopsy: Kylie Rae Harris Was Intoxicated, Died of Blunt Force Trauma in September Crash
Kylie Rae Harris died due to blunt force trauma in the September crash that claimed both her life and that of a 16-year-old girl in Taos, N.M., the country singer's autopsy reveals. Newly released toxicology results also show that Harris' blood alcohol concentration was well over the legal limit at the time of the accident.
According to the newly released reports, obtained by E! News, Harris' BAC was .28 when she was involved in a three-car accident in Taos on the night of Sept. 4. The legal limit is .08. Harris' autopsy, meanwhile, states that she suffered abrasions on her face and legs, a broken neck and several bone fractures, including multiple broken skull bones, a number of broken ribs, a broken breastbone and a broken pelvis. She also had "an abnormal collection of air in the skull."
"The now completed investigation supports what we suspected at the time of our initial investigation," Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe says in a statement, "and my earlier press release that stated alcohol consumption was suspected and speeding was a factor."
On Sept. 4, around 9PM, Harris' 2017 Chevrolet Equinox was going 102 miles per hour southbound on New Mexico's State Road 522, near Milepost 1, when she clipped the back of a black Chevrolet Avalanche, driven by an unidentified driver, who was not injured. Harris' vehicle's contact with the Avalanche caused Harris' vehicle to move into the northbound lane of the road and hit 16-year-old Maria Cruz's white 2008 Jeep SUV head on, at 95 miles per hour. Cruz, of San Cristobal, N.M., who also died in the crash, was going 51 miles per hour.
"Braking was indicated three-tenths of a second before impact," according to a statement from the Taos County Sheriff's Office, which previously reported that all three drivers were wearing seatbelts. In the days following the accident, Sheriff Hogrefe called Cruz "an innocent victim" of the crash, and said that Harris "caused" the accident.
Taste of County reports that Harris received a DWI charge in 2017. Her blood alcohol level at the time exceeded .15, which resulted in an ignition interlock being installed in her car. Harris' mother tells People that her daughter "struggled with" alcohol in recent years.
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. Her newest EP, a self-titled project, arrived in March; she co-wrote with Jon Randall, Bonnie Bishop, Wayne Kirkpatrick and more for the record.
“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 was in Taos for a show at Michael Hearne's Big Barn Dance Music Festival. She is survived by a daughter, Corbie. Cruz 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.
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