Blooming Prairie teacher dies from car crash injuries

By Jeffrey Jackson

Owatonna People’s Press via AP

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — A Blooming Prairie first-grade teacher has died of injuries sustained in a crash earlier this month — a crash that also claimed the life of her 8-year-old daughter — her family has reported.

Rachel Harberts, 43, of Dodge Center died at Saturday morning, according to a post on a Caring Bridge page set up for Harberts and her 12-year-old son, Jaxon, after a two-car crash on Highway 14 on the morning of Sept. 7. Harberts’ daughter, Emerson, was killed in the crash and pronounced dead at the scene.

“Today around 5:45 a.m. Rachel passed away,” her sister-in-law Kelsy Flowers wrote on the Caring Bridge website Saturday morning. “She went very peacefully, surrounded by her family which she has been for the past few days. Last night, Jodi played music for Rachel and Mom and Dad spent all night in Rachel’s room. Like everyone, I don’t know what else to say.”

After doctors last Tuesday told the family that Harberts had been without oxygen for 8-15 minutes at the scene of the accident, that she had suffered a major injury to her skull in a place where survival was not likely, and that the best case scenario for her was “life in a facility without really any hope of ever being aware of the world around her,” the family made the decision on Wednesday to remove life support from Harberts, Flowers said on Caring Bridge.

The crash occurred on Highway 14 near 130th Avenue on the east side of Claremont shortly after 7 a.m. Friday when the Mercury Milan driven by Harberts stopped on westbound Highway 14 in order to make a left turn, the report from the Minnesota State Patrol said.

While the Mercury was stopped, it was struck from the rear by a Hummer, driven by Tanner Ronald Kruckeberg, 24, also of Dodge Center. The Hummer was also traveling west on Highway 14, the patrol reports.

The Harberts family was on their way to school in Blooming Prairie, where Harberts taught first grade, when the accident occurred. Emerson was a third-grader and Jaxon a seventh-grader.

Both Rachel Harberts and Jaxon were transported to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester with life-threatening injuries, according to the initial report

The driver of the Hummer had no apparent injuries, the patrol reports.

There was a moment of silence prior to kickoff this past Friday night for the Harberts family. Rather than the traditional black-and-white of the Awesome Blossoms, fans were encouraged to wear Minnesota Vikings apparel Friday, and nearly all did, as did Blooming Prairie’s coaching staff, in honor of Jaxon, whose jersey was also displayed on a pedestal on the sidelines. In addition, Jaxon’s seventh-grade classmates sold apples Friday to raise money for the family, and all apples sold out by halftime.

Mower County

Historical Society featuring a history of the rail

Education

Minnesota State recognizes leaders with emeritus status including former RCC president

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

South Dakota man injured in crash on I-90 Tuesday night

Mower County

Training programs a big step toward filling a need for water, wastewater operators

Mower County

Daunting task lays ahead for City’s 2025 budget, operating levy

Mower County

Chop, Oman to now be tried separately in drive-by shooting case

Mower County

Mueller looking forward to building on county successes

Agriculture

Register for the Agriculture and Food Science Exploration (AFSE) Day

Mower County

In Your Community: County employees honored for completion of leadership training

Mower County

In Your Community: Joseph Company donates to Cedar Valley Services

Austin Living

On her own terms: Breanna Bortner tells her story of cancer bravely, beautifully

Brownsdale

In Your Community: Brownsdale Study Club

Education

Education Briefs: Accolades

News

Robots with hoes show farmers possible future of weed control

News

Wellness programs aim to support police officers through stressful work

News

Tobacco-like warning label for social media sought by US surgeon general who asks Congress to act

News

Deadly ATV crashes on pace to surpass last year’s total

Business

Expanding Opportunity: Austin Ford Chrysler breaks ground on addition, renovation

Mower County

Volunteers are needed for the statewide bumble bee survey

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Convictions June 3-10

Mower County

MnDOT asks motorists, riders to safely share the road during motorcycle convention in Rochester

Mower County

City of Austin to spray for mosquitoes

Mower County

Ikes to host steak cookout

Education

Education: Accolades