OWATONNA – A Dodge Center man charged with criminal vehicular homicide in a Sept. 7, 2018, crash that killed two people was issued a citation for speeding last month in Owatonna.
Tanner Ronald Kruckeberg, 25, was cited on July 11 by the Owatonna Police Department for allegedly driving 41 mph in a 30 mph zone, according to the citation summary.
He faces a petty misdemeanor charge as a result of that citation in Steele County District Court. When reached by phone Thursday, Kruckeberg's attorney, Chris Ritts, called the speeding charge “a non-crime" and said he did not have time to talk about it.
Ritts did not answer a subsequent call or return a message from the Post Bulletin.
State statute defines a petty misdemeanor as an "offense which is prohibited by statute, which does not constitute a crime and for which a sentence of a fine of not more than $300 may be imposed."
Kruckeberg waived his right to appear in person at his arraignment and pleaded not guilty to the speeding charge via a letter submitted to the court on Thursday afternoon.
In February, Kruckeberg appeared in Dodge County District Court on two counts of criminal vehicular homicide-operate a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner. Following that hearing, he was released on conditions, including "no traffic-related charges," he not drive without a valid driver's license and insurance and he remain law-abiding, according to court records.
The Dodge County Attorney's Office declined to comment whether the new citation would be a violation of Kruckeberg's conditions of release. A plea hearing in the Dodge County case is scheduled for Sept. 5.
According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Kruckeberg was behind the wheel of the Hummer H3 that struck a Mercury Milan from behind about 7:12 a.m. Sept. 7 near Claremont, instantly killing one passenger and seriously injuring the driver and other passenger inside the car.
Rachel Harberts, 43, and her daughter, Emerson, 8, both of Dodge Center, died as a result of the crash. Emerson was pronounced dead at the scene. Rachel Harberts died of her injuries eight days later.
Harberts’ son, Jaxon, 12, survived the crash.
Rachel Harberts was a first-grade teacher at Blooming Prairie Elementary School, and Emerson was a third-grader at the school.
According to court records, Kruckeberg has at least eight previous petty misdemeanor convictions for speeding, dating back to 2010. He has also been convicted for driving with a suspended license multiple times.