Laura Lynch, founding member of ‘Dixie Chicks,’ dies in car crash

(Reuters) -Laura Lynch, a founding member of the U.S. country band “Dixie Chicks,” died in a head-on car crash on a Texas highway, law enforcement said on Saturday.

“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Laura Lynch,” the band, which renamed itself “The Chicks” in 2020, wrote on social media.

“Laura was a bright light … her infectious energy and humor gave a spark to the early days of our band,” the band said in the statement.

Lynch, who co-founded the popular group in 1989 in Dallas along with musicians Robin Lynn Macy and sisters Martie and Emily Erwin, died in a head-on collision on a highway outside of El Paso on Friday, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement.

Lynch, 65, was at the wheel of her vehicle driving eastbound on US 62 outside of the city of El Paso when another car traveling in the opposite direction attempted to pass a vehicle on a two-way undivided portion of the highway.

It crashed into Lynch’s Ford truck, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

The Chicks praised Lynch’s “infectious energy and humor” and said in a statement she was “instrumental” to the band’s early success.

Lynch was the Dixie Chick’s bassist and at one point the main vocalist. She left the group in 1995.

Originally founded as a bluegrass band, Dixie Chicks released their major label debut “Wide Open Spaces” in 1998, selling “more CDs than all other country music groups combined,” and earning their first Grammy Award, according to the awards’ website.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil and Maria CaspaniEditing by Chris Reese)