Country Singer Kylie Rae Harris Remembered at Celebration of Life Service 1 Week After Fatal Accident
Kylie Rae Harris was mourned by her friends and family in a celebration of life service on Wednesday.
One week after the 30-year-old rising country singer died in a three-vehicle crash, her loved ones gathered together at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.
Family friend Deborah Mash tells PEOPLE that Harris’ stepfather, Brent Cowan, delivered her eulogy at the funeral service.
Mash also spoke with E! News and noted how “there was an outpouring of support from Texas musicians who attended in person and sent their condolences,” as well as a special performance by Harris’ 6-year-old daughter Corbie.
The youngster decided to sing her mother’s song, “Twenty Years from Now” alongside country singer Bonnie Bishop, Mash said.
Harris initially wrote the song for Corbie, which revealed her hope that she’d still be around to watch her little girl reach adulthood in the coming years.
That song holds a much different meaning now to Corbie after her mom was involved in the fatal crash in Taos, New Mexico last Wednesday — an accident that also claimed the life of 16-year old Maria Elena Cruz.
The Taos County Sheriff’s Office told PEOPLE in a statement that Harris, who was traveling south on State Road 522 in a black Chevrolet Equinox, struck a black Chevrolet Avalanche from behind, initially sending her vehicle into the northbound traffic lane. Harris’ vehicle then collided head-on with Cruz’s white 2008 Jeep, which was traveling north on SR 522 at the time.
The impact of the crash was the cause of death for both drivers, who were pronounced dead at the scene, according to authorities who said speed appeared to be a contributing factor in the crash. According to the Associated Press, alcohol is also suspected to have been a factor.
“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 statement to TaosNews.com.
Hours before the fatal crash, Harris was also present on social media — tweeting and posting a series of videos on her Instagram Stories that documented her road trip through New Mexico, where she was scheduled to play at the Big Barn Dance Music Festival in Taos.
The videos were particularly eerie as a teary-eyed Harris discussed how all of her family members who lived in Taos, with the exception of her uncle, had died there.
“Driving these roads — I’ve been driving for 12 hours — you would think that’s so exhausting and boring but like, the last couple of hours driving through the mountains, I’m just remembering my place in the backseat as a little kid when my dad was making these treks here,” she went on. “It was the f— best, and I started getting really sad.”
Speaking to PEOPLE after the fatal accident, Harris’ mother Betsy Cowan said alcohol is “something [Kylie] struggled with on-and-off over the years,” but declined to share more details “out of respect to both families.”
Though there won’t be a definitive answer as to whether alcohol played a role in the crash until the toxicology reports are released in a few weeks, Cowan said the “results are the same” to her “regardless of what caused it.”
“If you’ve ever had to take defensive driving, they say sleep deprivation, emotions and alcohol are the top three contributors to most wrecks,” she explained. “And so any one of those things could have done it … She had driven 11 or 12 hours that day, and I’m sure that she was exhausted and she was emotionally exhausted. And I think we all know that what that does to you.”
Cowan also described her daughter as “genuine, warm and headstrong” who had a “stubborn perseverance” that allowed her to push through the competitive music industry.
“That’s what you need is you’re going to make it on your own like that,” she said. “Especially being a female in a very male-dominated industry [like] Texas Americana music … She was very special.”
As for what she wanted people to know about her daughter, Cowan said it’s that Harris “would be extending her sympathies to the family of the 16-year-old girl.”
“And, of course, she would be so concerned about Corbie,” she added. “She loved Corbie beyond everything. She’s a wonderful girl, and hopefully, her message will continue to live on.”