State Patrol: Distracted Driving Blamed for Deadly Dodge County Crash

September 18, 2018 06:43 PM

New documents show distracted driving is being blamed for a deadly crash in Dodge County last week. 


An eight-year-old girl and her mother died when their vehicle was rear-ended on Highway 14 near Claremont. 

RELATED: Dodge Center Woman in Fatal Crash Passes Away

Rachel Harberts and her children, Emerson and Jaxon, were heading to school in nearby Blooming Prairie.

They were waiting to turn left when a driver coming up behind them, ran his SUV into the back of their stopped car, the impact so intense according to the State Patrol, the SUV went up over the back of the Harberts car and pushed it several hundred feet into oncoming traffic.

In a State Patrol search warrant, the driver of the SUV, 24-year-old Tanner Kruckeberg admitted: "he was looking down at his center counsel area to put away his cellular phone; when he looked up he rear-ended Harberts."

Eight-year-old Emerson, strapped into the back seat of the car in a booster, was killed.

Her 12-year-old brother Jaxon, and Rachel were airlifted to the hospital where Rachel died over the weekend.

According to driving records, in the eight years Kruckeberg has been able to have a license, he's had at least seven speeding violations, five of those going more than 15 miles an hour over the limit. He's had his license suspended, been cited for driving with a suspended license and also texting while driving.

RELATED: State Patrol IDs 8-Year-Old Girl Killed in Southern Minnesota Crash

At Blooming Prairie Elementary School, where Rachel was a teacher and her daughter a third-grader, signs are posted at some of the main school doors. Handmade hearts plaster the windows showing the enormous amount of love this small community has for the Harberts family.

A fundraising page for the family has already raised more than $55,000 in ten days. 

Charges are pending while the State Patrol investigates. 


Jessica Miles

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