Skip to main content

Community rallies for family of 8-year-old girl killed in southern Minnesota crash

The 8-year-old girl was killed when a Hummer rear-ended the vehicle she was in.

A fundraiser has raised more than $32,000 for a Dodge Center family involved in a tragic car crash in southern Minnesota last week. 

The crashed happened Friday, Sep. 7 on Hwy. 14 east of Claremont – about 15 miles east of Owatonna – when the driver of a Hummer slammed into the back of a car driven by a mother who was taking her two kids to school. They were stopped and waiting to turn left when the Hummer rear-ended them. 

Eight-year-old Emerson Harberts died at the scene and her mother, 43-year-old Rachel Harberts, and brother, 12-year-old Jaxon Harberts suffered life-threatening injuries and were transported by air ambulance to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, where they underwent extensive surgeries to save their lives. 

According to their CaringBridge page, both underwent brain surgeries to remove a bone flap to help relieve pressure on their brains. 

The last update from Monday says the pressure on Rachel's brain is decreasing and that doctors told family and friends that she's made "purposeful movements," which is a great sign. 

Jaxon had his breathing tube and catheter removed on Monday and is being weened off sedation medication so he can start physical therapy to work on movements and getting stronger. But first he needs to be fitted with a helmet to protect his head. 

Rachel is a first-grade teacher at Blooming Prairie Elementary School, where Emerson was a third-grader. She was driving her kids to school and set to go to work when the crash happened just after 7 o'clock on Friday morning. 

The school and community have since rallied around the family by holding a gathering at a local park and holding a purple out in Emerson's memory during Monday's high school volleyball game. 

"Blooming Prairie is a great community. We always stand behind each other, we're very close-knit and we take care of one another," Blooming Prairie activities director Alison Mach told KAAL-TV

Next Up

hospital, emergency room

Woman found on side of highway after hit-and-run

The 41-year-old was airlifted to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Jorden Nicole Borders

Charges: Minnesota woman tortured her kids, removed boy's blood

Warning: This story contains upsetting content.

first snow

Will narrow band of 6+ inches of snow hit Twin Cities Tuesday?

The NWS says a band of 6+ inches is looking likely. It's now a matter of where.


Siblings, ages 19 and 14, killed in crash on icy MN highway

The crash happened around 1:15 a.m. Saturday in Carlton County.

Nicholas Kraus

Man sentenced for fatally striking woman during Uptown protest

Nicholas Kraus, 36, of St. Paul drove into a protest in Uptown last year, killing Deona Marie Knajdek.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Fleeing suspect crashes into vehicle in Woodbury, 2 injured

The crash occurred Friday afternoon after a pursuit with Woodbury police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 2.34.44 PM

Yes, that's MN native Jenny Taft in a State Farm commercial

Jenny Taft got her broadcasting career started in Minneapolis in 2011.

crime scene tape - police tape

23-year-old woman critical after shooting in Plymouth

A 23-year-old woman was shot Friday night in Plymouth.

white Christmas

2 MN towns among most 'magical' winter locations in the country

The list was compiled by Trips Discover and published earlier this month.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 8.27.12 AM

St. Olaf football player charged after fatal crash in Chicago

The 18-year-old is accused of speeding and going the wrong way when he crashed into a vehicle that may have been attempting to flee police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 7.41.18 AM

Woman 34 weeks pregnant injured by drunk driver in Cottage Grove

The 49-year-old suspected of DUI was booked into jail around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.


2 dead, 5 injured in Thanksgiving Day crash near Alexandria

The crash involved two people from Alexandria and five from Bloomington.


Hummer crashes into car, killing 8-year-old girl

A report says a mother was taking her two children to school when they were hit from behind.

Andrew Russ

Wife's emotional tribute after husband dies in Woodbury crash

Andrew Russ was slowing for traffic when a semi rear-ended his vehicle.

Aiden Hall

Community answers call to help after teen dies in crash

Two teenagers died in the June 8 crash on Hwy. 169 in Itasca County.

Mother of girl killed in S. MN crash dies

She fought for her life in the hospital for more than a week.

Joseph Koopman

Man killed in rollover crash was Army vet, father-of-3 girls

Joseph Koopman died in a rollover crash in southwest Minnesota on May 17.

Harley Davidson riders killed in crash leave behind 5 children

A fundraiser has been started to help the St. Cloud family.

Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 7.24.17 AM

Family of 4 killed in Austin car crash identified

The single-car crash happened Thursday, March 19.