Rising country star Kylie Rae Harris caused the fatal three-car crash that left her and a teen driver dead, the local sheriff said in a statement.
Harris was driving southbound on a highway Taos, New Mexico, when her vehicle struck another car from behind, police told People in a statement. Police said Harris' car then veered into a northbound lane and collided head-on with the car driven by 16-year-old Maria Elena Cruz.
“At this time I will say with most certainty that Miss Cruz was an innocent victim of this senseless crash caused by Ms. Harris,” Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said in a Friday statement to TaosNews.com.
Police said alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash, but a toxicology report has not been released.
Before the accident, the singer had posted to social media that she was low on fuel.
“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.
Harris released her self-titled EP in March. She was particularly proud of a song titled “Twenty Years From Now,” which she wrote for her 6-year-old daughter, Corbie. Harris lost her father to cancer and said she wrote the song because she realizes some kids don't get to know their parents as adults themselves, she said.
“It scared me thinking that it was totally possible I could be gone before my daughter reaches that point,” she told Billboard at the time. “I want to meet my kid’s kids. Getting to the age your parents were when you were a child brings a whole lot of perspective."
A GoFundMe has been started to raise money for the star’s funeral, with the rest to be put toward a college fund for her daughter.
“Everyone that knew Kylie knew how much she loved her family and, beyond that, how much she loved music,” her publicist’s statement also said. “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.”