Blooming Prairie schools to close for funeral of teacher and her daughter

The 43-year-old died on Saturday, 8 days after the crash that killed her daughter.
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Class will be canceled at Blooming Prairie's elementary and high School on Thursday following the tragic deaths of teacher Rachel Harberts and her daughter Emerson.

The 43-year-old from Dodge Center, a first grade teacher at Blooming Prairie Elementary School, died Saturday morning from the injuries sustained in the crash on Sept. 7, when her car was rear-ended by a Hummer on Hwy. 14.

Emerson Harberts, 8, was pronounced dead at the scene, while her 12-year-old son Jaxon was hospitalized with severe injuries.

The funeral for mother and daughter will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, prompting the school board to cancel classes for the day.

"Since the service is in the middle of the day and an hour away from our district, the administration with board consensus has decided that school will NOT be in session on Thursday," the board announced on its website.

"An overwhelming number of staff and students will be attending, which would make the school day non-productive. This may cause some minor hardship for some, but we need to allow our district to grieve in an appropriate manner and time frame. Thanks for your overwhelming support through these very tough days."

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While no charges have yet been filed in the crash, it's emerged in the past week that the 24-year-old driver of the Hummer may have been distracted before it happened.

Southern Minnesota Today obtained a case file more than a week ago that said the driver told police he was looking down at his center console to put his cellphone away moments before the crash, and looked up to see Harberts' car stopping ahead as she prepared to make a left turn.

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