A New Mexico EMT who raced to respond to the crash that claimed the life of country singer Kylie Rae Harris didn’t know that his own daughter was among those killed until he arrived on the scene, a new report noted.
Harris was killed in a crash this Wednesday that also took the life of 16-year-old Maria Elena Cruz, a local high school student. As KRQE reported, police said the 30-year-old country singer was likely at fault for the crash and that Cruz had no part in causing it. Investigators from the Taos County Sheriff’s Department said that Cruz was returning home from her job at a restaurant when Harris’ vehicle clipped a car and then veered into oncoming traffic, striking Cruz’s vehicle head on.
As the report added, Maria’s father was among the first responders who rushed to the scene. Pedro Cruz, a deputy chief with the San Cristóbal Volunteer Fire Department, did not know his daughter was involved in the crash until he arrived.
“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.
After the crash, Maria Elana Cruz’s family remembered her as a kindhearted girl with a bright future.
“We don’t want her name to be forgotten, because she had so much of her life ahead.” Cruz’s uncle, Pedro Soliz, said. “She was a very good student and wanted to study and for people to take her away, that’s not right.”
As NBC News reported, Harris was scheduled to play at the Big Barn Dance Music Festival in Taos County, where the crash took place. Earlier in the day, before the fatal crash, Harris had taken to Instagram where she uploaded several tearful stories talking about visiting Taos as a child and noting family members who lived there who had passed away. Some of the videos were filmed from the driver’s seat as Harris was on the road.
Police said that alcohol was suspected to be a factor in the crash, but they did not yet have the results of toxicology tests.
Kylie Rae Harris’ death was mourned by many in the country music world. As People magazine reported, she had released two albums, including a self-titled EP back in March.