Dodge Center Man Charged With Causing Deadly Claremont Wreck
Mantorville, MN (KROC AM News) - Two counts of criminal vehicular homicide have been filed against a Dodge Center man who is accused of being on his cellphone when he caused a traffic wreck that killed a woman and her young daughter.
The criminal complaint says 24-year-old Tanner Kruckeberg was driving a Hummer that rear-ended a car that had stopped to make a turn near Claremont last September.
The driver of the car was 43-year-old Rachel Harberts of Dodge Center, who died a week later. She was a Blooming Prairie teacher. Her 8-year-old daughter Emerson died in the wreck and her 12-year-old son Jaxon was seriously injured.
Kruckeberg said his cruise control was set at 60 mph at the time of the wreck and there were no skid marks to indicate he braked to avoid the collision.
The criminal complaint says Kruckeberg told investigators he had been talking to a friend on his phone. He said he was looking down to hang up the phone and when he looked up he saw a car “right in front of him.” Investigators say a search of his cellphone indicated Kruckeberg was “on his phone using an online banking application."
Kruckeberg has a history of driving offenses dating back to his teens - including one when an officer saw him either texting or looking at his cellphone. That was in 2014 while Kruckeberg was driving on Highway 52 in Rochester. He also has nine speeding convictions on his record, dating back to when he was 16. Three involved speeds of over 80-miles-per-hour, including one at 89-miles-per-hour. Three of the speeding tickets were issued before he turned 17. Kruckeberg was also given four tickets for driving after his license was suspended.
He has been ordered to make his first court appearance on the new charges Feb. 13th.
News update: Two more fatal traffic wrecks in Minnesota.