MANTORVILLE — A Dodge Center man who killed a Blooming Prairie teacher and her young daughter last year in a distracted driving case may avoid his prison sentence if he can follow his probation terms.
Dodge County Judge Jodi Williamson Wednesday sentenced 25-year-old Tanner Kruckeberg to 57 months in prison. That would equal just under five years. However, the judge stayed the 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.
Despite avoiding prison, Kruckeberg will still spend some time incarcerated. He was ordered to serve 30 days in jail this year and will also face a 30-day jail sentence a year throughout his probation, beginning on the anniversary of the fatal wreck.
Kruckeberg can seek court permission to forego serving the jail sentence after five years.
The accident occurred on Sept. 7, 2018 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.
Harberts’ 12-year-old son was seriously injured.
The criminal complaint goes on to say 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 originally told investigators he had been talking to a friend on his phone and was looking down to hang up the phone at the time of the collision.
Investigators say a search of his cellphone indicated Kruckeberg was using an online banking app during the time of the crash.
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. He has nine speeding convictions on his record, three involving speeds of over 80-miles-per-hour.
Kruckeberg has also received four tickets for driving after his license was suspended.