Kruckeberg Receives Probation For Causing Deadly Claremont Wreck
Mantorville, MN (KROC-AM News) - A Dodge Center man who killed a woman and her young daughter last year in a distracted driving case has avoided a prison sentence - if he stays out of trouble.
Dodge County Judge Jodi Williamson Wednesday sentenced 25-year-old Tanner Kruckeberg to 57 months in prison.
The judge stayed execution of the sentence and placed Kruckeberg on probation for up to 10 years. The sentence could be executed if he violates the terms of his probation.
But Kruckeberg will spend some time behind bars. He was ordered to serve 30 days in jail this year. He will also face a 30-day jail sentence during each of the next 10 years, beginning on the anniversary of the fatal wreck. He can seek court permission to forego serving the sentence during the final 5 years.
The wreck happened Sept. 7 last year when Kruckeberg’s Hummer rear-ended a car that had stopped to make a turn near Claremont. Investigators said Kruckeberg was using his cellphone at the time. He was charged with criminal vehicular homicide for causing the deaths of 43-year-old Rachel Harberts of Dodge Center and her 8-year-old daughter Emerson. The woman’s 12-year-old son was seriously injured.
The criminal complaint says Kruckeberg told investigators his cruise control was set at 60 mph at the time of the wreck. There were no skid marks to indicate he braked to avoid the collision. The 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.