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Post Bulletin
     September 19, 2018      #21-262 PB1 1
 
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Rachel Harberts and her 8-year-old daughter, Emerson, died as a result of a Sept. 7 crash. Her son, Jaxon, was injured in the crash.

Contributed
Driver allegedly putting away his phone at time of fatal crash

By Emily Cutts
ecutts@postbulletin.com


DODGE CENTER — A Dodge Center man who was allegedly behind the wheel of a Hummer that rear-ended a car and killed two people was reportedly putting his cellphone away at the time of the crash.

A search warrant and supporting affidavit filed by Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. KJ McGraw on Sept. 10 revealed the detail about the fatal crash.

The warrant was for the removal or imaging of a Sensing and Diagnostic Module, Airbag Control Module and any other event data recording device in the Hummer driven by Tanner Ronald Kruckeberg, 24, of Dodge Center, according to the warrant.

In the warrant, McGraw wrote that “Kruckeberg admitted he was looking down at his center console area to put away his cellular phone; when he looked up he rear-ended the Mercury.”

Rachel Harberts, 43, and her daughter, Emerson, 8, both of Dodge Center, died as a result the crash near Claremont. Their 2010 Mercury Milan was struck from behind by the 2003 Hummer H3 at about 7:12 a.m., according to a Minnesota State Patrol report.

Emerson was pronounced dead at the scene. Rachel Harberts died eight days later due to her injuries. Harberts’ son, Jaxon, 12, was taken to Mayo Clinic Rochester-Saint Marys where he remains. No condition report was available, but a posting on his CaringBridge page says he’s making progress toward recovery.

Kruckeberg has not been charged in connection with the crash. State Patrol Sgt. Troy Christianson said in an email Tuesday morning that the investigation will be completed in 60 to 90 days and once that happens the case will be forwarded to the county attorney for review of charges.

The Owatonna People’s Press reported that Kruckeberg’s driving record shows convictions for 23 separate offenses in six separate counties since 2010, the year that he turned 16. The vast majority of the tickets — 11 in all — were written in Dodge County, with eight of the 23 citations for speeding.

Rachel Harberts was a first-grade teacher at Blooming Prairie Elementary School, and Emerson was a third-grader at the school. Jaxon is a seventh-grader at Blooming Prairie High School.

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