Kylie Rae Harris crash a shock for NM fire chief; learns his 16-year-old daughter also died
A New Mexico volunteer fire chief who responded to Wednesday night’s fatal crash that killed country singer Kylie Rae Harris learned to his horror that his own 16-year-old daughter also died in the accident, according to a report.
The teen, Maria Elena Cruz, had been driving home from work when Harris made contact with the back of a pickup truck and veered into oncoming traffic, hitting Cruz’s vehicle head-on, police said.
Pedro Cruz, a volunteer fire chief with the San Cristobal Fire and Maria’s father, responded to the call in Taos County, N.M., Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV reported.
“He’s also an EMT, so he’s no stranger to going out on calls — both medical, crashes and other things — but very traumatic for him to not know but to respond anyway and then find it was his family member,” Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said.
San Cristobel community members held a benefit Friday to raise money for the Cruz family. A memorial in memory of the teen was created at Taos High School, where she was a junior, Albuquerque’s KOB-TV reported.
One of the vehicles involved in the three-car crash Wednesday. (Taos County Sheriff’s Office )
“They just want the community to remember their daughter, Maria Elena, as kind, loving and caring — wonderful daughter, wonderful sister, and a just kind-hearted soul,” Taos County Fire Chief Mike Cordova said.
Hogrefe said the crash was “most certainly” Harris’ fault and Cruz was an “innocent victim.”
Harris had a history of DUI incidents, KRQE reported.