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Update: The Country Music Star Who Passed Away Yesterday Might Have Been Drunk Driving When She Fatally Hit A Latina Teen

News broke earlier today that a high school student was also killed in the fatal car crash that resulted in the death of country singer Kylie Rae Harris, 30. The three-vehicle crash, which happened on Wednesday night in Taos, New Mexico, resulted in the fatal death of the 16-year-old high school student named Maria Elena Cruz. 

Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene. Her father, San Cristobal Volunteer Fire Deputy Chief Pedro Cruz was among the first responders at the scene of the fatal car crash. 

“At this time I will say with most certainty that Miss Cruz was an innocent victim of this senseless crash caused by Ms. Harris,” said Taos Country Sherriff Jerry Hogrefe in a statement to TaosNews.com

According to PEOPLE magazine, Taos County Sheriff’s Office said 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.” 

Both drivers were also pronounced dead at the scene and PEOPLE reports that authorities said speeding appears to be one of the reasons for the fatal car crash. According to Daily Mail, police said alcohol was also a factor in the fatal accident although they have not yet revealed which driver had been drinking. The third driver “escaped uninjured and has not been identified.” Investigators are waiting for the results of a pending toxicology report to determine the alcohol levels of those involved. 

In an exclusive report by Daily Mail, it was revealed that country singer Harris had multiple citations for drunk driving and speeding as well. She had a court-ordered breathalyzer installed in her car, so there is speculation as to who used the breathalyzer in order to start the car and/or keep driving. Court records obtained by Daily Mail also show that she was convicted in June 2017 of driving while intoxicated and that she was fined over $400 for the offense. Years prior, in 2014, Daily Mail also reveals that she was fined another $302 for speeding in Dallas, Texas. 

The Taos community in New Mexico is mourning the loss of the high school teenager, Maria Elena Cruz. She was a Taos High School sophomore from San Cristóbal and the daughter of a deputy chief that responded to the crash. 

Students and faculty from the high school are also in shock.

Taos County Fire Chief Mike Cordova told TaosNews.com in an email that Deputy Chief Pedro Cruz and his family are “reeling” and “at home mourning her loss.” He also said that they’re asking for people and the community to give the family some time and space for the next couple of days. 

However, if community members want to help the family financially then they can drop off donations at the Taos County Fire and EMS office. More information on that here. The Taos community also planned a dinner to raise funds to help the Cruz family with funeral costs on Friday, September 6 at the San Cristóbal Community Center. You can donate to Maria Elena Cruz’s GoFundMe here, to help her family pay for funeral costs. 

According to one of her former teachers, Maria Elena Cruz was “beautiful, intelligent, kind, hard-working, and inspirational. Her tragic death has impacted many young lives, former teachers, her beloved parents, and little sister.”

Kylie Rae Harris’s mother, Betsy Cowan, released a statement on her Facebook on Thursday, announcing the church memorial service planned for next week.

“Needless to say, we have a huge hole in our hearts right now. We know our Kylie made a big impact on those around her, but I don’t think we could have fathomed how many people truly loved and cherished her,” her mother wrote in the same Facebook post according to Daily Mail. 

Her memorial service is planned for Wednesday, September 11, in her home town. There are also a couple of donation pages going around to raise benefits for the singer’s daughter and her family. 

Harris’s mother also wrote, “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the 16-year-old girl who also died on the scene of the accident last night in Taos.”  

Before the fatal crash, the country singer posted an emotional Instagram video telling fans about how “literally everyone” in her family had died in Taos, New Mexico. She also tweeted hours before the crash saying that she was driving and almost out of fuel. The singer was scheduled to perform in a festival in New Mexico, where the crash occurred.  

Kylie Rae Harris leaves behind her six-year-old daughter Corbie. 

San Diego State University Student Dies After Being Hospitalized Following Frat Party

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San Diego State University Student Dies After Being Hospitalized Following Frat Party

Carly Bernado / GoFundMe

San Diego State University has announced that freshman student Dylan Hernandez died over the weekend. Hernandez, 19, reportedly attended a ‘fraternity event’ Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, Hernandez’s body “was found pulseless and apneic by his roommate in their dorm room,” according to San Diego’s Medical Examiner’s report. Hernandez was transported to Alvarado Hospital on Thursday and died Sunday, surrounded by family from his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

All 14 fraternities affiliated with San Diego State University (SDSU) were placed on suspension upon Hernandez’s hospitalization and will remain suspended until further notice. 

Dylan Hernandez is described as an “outgoing, light-hearted and goofy person who had so much love to give to everyone he met.”

Credit: Bart Hernandez / Facebook

Dylan was an outgoing, light-hearted and goofy person who had so much love to give to everyone he met,” writes GoFundMe organizer Carly Bernado. “He never failed to make everyone in the room smile and his laugh was infectious. He was a first-semester student at San Diego State University. This is being created to raise money to help to create memorials for family and friends as a way to grieve, and remember Dylan for all the lives he was able to touch.”

A GoFundMe for funeral and memorial expenses has raised nearly $29k at the time of publication.

Credit: Carly Bernado / Facebook

The fundraiser was seemingly started by Hernandez’s girlfriend, Carly Bernado. Over 800 donations have come in, many of which from SDSU classmates or alumni, seeking to support the family during this difficult time. 

“This young man, Dylan, was my daughter’s next-door neighbor in the dorm at SDSU. He died suddenly this past week,” Maria Bernal Toretta shared on Facebook. “He was a nice, respectable young man who was helpful and kind to my daughter. Please pray for him and for his family; they will be needing many prayers. If you feel inclined to donate to the go fund me account, the link is below. I am truly sorry for this family’s loss.” 

San Diego State’s University Police Department is currently investigating the cause of death.

Credit: Carly Bernado / GoFundMe

“UPD is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident,” University Police said in a statement. “Although the investigation is preliminary, UPD is taking this matter very seriously. As this is an ongoing investigation, UPD cannot provide additional details at this time.” The medical examiner’s office could invite San Diego Police to investigate the case if it rules Hernandez’s death a homicide.

Hernandez reportedly fell off his bunk bed after returning home from a frat party.

Credit: Julia Hernandez / Facebook

The following morning, Hernandez’s roommate returned to find him unconscious and without a pulse, after suffering a head injury from his fall. His roommate called 911 at 8:49 a.m. Thursday to the sixth floor of Tenochca residence hall. Hernandez was in the midst of pledging to Phi Gamma Delta, one of the fourteen fraternities associated with the Interfraternity Council (IFC). Six of those fraternities were already under suspension and an additional four were under investigation.  SDSU President Adela de la Torre suspended all fourteen IFC fraternities effective Friday, November 8. 

The following day, de la Torre emailed the entire student body urging students with any information to come forward, after university police “uncovered information which alleges that a fraternity was involved in possible misconduct.” Several students told CBS News that Hernadez “over partied,” alluding to overconsumption of alcohol. Hernandez, 19, was below the legal drinking age. Many are demanding an alcohol ban on fraternity property, referring to the injuries and deaths caused by “hazing.”

SDSU President Adela de la Torre said the university will continue offering mental health support to those who are affected.

Credit: Carly Bernado / Facebook

In a statement, De La Torre addressed the SDSU community to say, “It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to say that Dylan Hernandez, the student who was hospitalized last week, has passed away. His family gave their goodbyes late Sunday night.” She also acknowledged that Hernandez’s impact on the community was felt and that therapists with Counseling and Psychological Services will continue offering their resources for students, faculty, and staff.

Our hearts go out to the Hernandez family during this difficult time.

Credit: Sylvie Laporte Hernandez / Facebook

Dylan Hernandez, 19, is survived by his sisters, Julia and Kayla Hernandez, and his parents, Sylvie Laporte Hernandez and Bart Hernandez. “Love you forever buddy,” his sister Julia commemorated on a social media post.

READ: Kelly Ripa Tried To Make A Joke About Her Son Experiencing Extreme Poverty After College But Not A Lot Of People Laughed

Texas Man Convicted For Beheading His Sleeping Roommate And Killing Roommate’s Girlfriend

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Texas Man Convicted For Beheading His Sleeping Roommate And Killing Roommate’s Girlfriend

@deannaboyd / Twitter

After spending more than five hours deliberating on the verdict, a Texas jury has found Hector “El Cholo” Acosta-Ojeda guilty of capital murder for the killings of Erick ‘Diablo’ Zelaya, 26, and Iris Chirinos, 17. Prosecutors said Acosta-Ojeda shot his roommate, Zelaya, twice in the head while he slept. He then used a machete to behead Zelaya and left his severed head on a trail near Arlington, Texas’s AT&T Stadium. Zelaya’s girlfriend, Chirinos tried to flee the scene of the gruesome murder, but Acosta-Ojeda fatally shot her. 

Acosta-Ojeda, 30, pleaded not guilty to the crime and did not take the stand.

Credit: @deannaboyd / Twitter

In closing arguments, Acosta-Ojeda’s defense attorneys, Bill Ray and Gary Smart, told the jury that no weapon was linked to Acosta-Ojeda. They argued that the presence of so many other people in the house leaves room for reasonable doubt. They also argued that authorities did not offer a proper reading of Acosta-Ojeda’s Miranda rights, which tell a person under arrest that they have the “right to remain silent” and that, “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” By that waive of rights, any confession Acosta-Ojeda made was nullified. 

Still, The Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney (ADA), Kevin Rousseau, argued, “He confessed to every single aspect of this case,” according to the Star-Telegram.

Prosecutors argued that the motive was linked to another shooting, which occurred in May 2017.

Credit: @miguelgomeztv / Twitter

In a series of strange events, Acosta-Ojeda’s home was targeted by gunmen while he and others were sleeping. Moments later, Zelaya and young Chirinos arrived, laughing. The very next day, someone burned down Acosta-Ojeda’s home. ADA Rousseau learned that Zelaya had confessed to being a part of the shooting just hours before Acosta-Ojeda executed him in his sleep.

After Acosta-Ojeda killed the couple, he buried them in a shallow grave in the backyard, but not before he beheaded Zelaya with a machete. He put the head in a trash bag, made a sign, and rode his bicycle, with a severed head in hand, to what was left of his home. There, he left his friend’s severed head along with a sign that read, “La Raza Se Resreta y Faltan 4,” which roughly means, ‘the race, or group, must be respected and only four remain.”

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, which will be determined in a sentencing hearing Wednesday.

Credit: Iris Gomez / Facebook

While her family has yet to speak out about the incident, friends have posted to her Facebook page, saying “God rest your soul. Prayers to your family.. god sees your true beauty, he will judge the criminal that did this to you… RIP.” Folks continue to post to her page, years later, with thoughts like, “I miss you babygirl. RIP,” and “Missing you like crazy, love you lil sis.”

If the jury doesn’t reach a unanimous decision on capital punishment, Acosta-Ojeda will receive mandatory minimum sentencing of life imprisonment without parole.

Members of the alt-right have tried to use the story to further anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Credit: @TEEITHIGH / Twitter

“Look at the face of the people crossing our border every day to seek that better life. Why behead in Mexico when you can behead in America?” tweets Clayton Freeman. “Democrats want people like this in America!
SIC,” tweeted another woman. A Facebook post sharing the news on the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office page had just one comment: “Hang him!”

Acosta-Ojeda is implicated in another murder case that opened just one month after he killed Zelaya and Chirinos. 

Credit: Triston Algiene / Facebook

Acosta-Ojeda is accused of robbing and murdering 34-year-old Triston Ray Algiene. In October 2017, Algiene’s mutilated body was found, cut in half, and buried in concrete in the foundation of a vacant home. Another man, Felipe Eduardo Ortiz, is also accused in the murder. The two had been renting rooms in the house they chose to bury the body under. Authorities suspect that Ortiz and Acosta-Ojeda had set up the meeting with Algiene to appear as a drug deal, but planned to rob and murder him. According to a report last year, Algiene was then tied with duct tape and rope and beaten into giving the PIN number to his debit card. Now-deceased Zelaya and Chirinos allegedly were tasked with withdrawing money from the ATM. They called Acosta-Ojeda, who allegedly got angry and killed Algiene. They dug a hole in the bedroom, sawed Algiene’s body in half, and covered it up. By the time investigators arrived, the house had been remodeled and up for sale. 

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