‘It was 100% preventable’: Mother of 3-year-old believes the justice system failed her

May 4, 2022, 7:55 PM | Updated: May 5, 2022, 9:38 am

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — The mother of a 3-year-old boy hit and killed by an impaired driver in Eagle Mountain believes the justice system failed her and the family of the other child hit and killed.

“I want to know why. I want answers. My whole family wants answers,” said an emotional Theresa Ratliff as she spoke about her son, Odin. “What happened was absolutely the worst thing that could have ever happened to both of our families. And it was 100% preventable.”

Odin Ratliff and his best friend Hunter Jackson were both innocently playing with their trucks in the dirt at the Cedar Valley Stables in Eagle Mountain on Monday night when an out-of-control car plowed through the fence of the arena and wiped out several stables, hitting the boys.

Investigators say Kent Cody Barlow, 25, was high on meth and going over 100 mph when he lost control. Three other passengers were in the car and all of them, including Barlow, survived.

Two Utah children dead after car crashes through fence in Eagle Mountain

Theresa Ratliff was at the stables when she heard the awful crash.

“I just sprinted out and I see the tractors. I see the wreckage and I see my son’s blonde hair,” she said.

Barlow is no newcomer to crime. His criminal history of theft, drugs and property damage dates back for years, including stealing a Draper police car back in 2019.

On Tuesday Hunter’s parents spoke to KSL TV questioning why Barlow was out driving and why he got early parole out of prison, and Ratliff is also questioning the legal system.

Legal expert and defense attorney Greg Skordas who has nothing to do with the case says as horrific as this case is, sadly. there is a reason you can’t keep someone like Barlow behind bars for too long.

“I’m not sure this is a case that slipped through the cracks,” Skordas told KSL TV. “Because they were property crimes and drug crimes, which don’t usually carry a long prison term, he was ultimately paroled.”

Barlow now faces 10 different charges, including two counts of automobile homicide which could put him in prison for years.

Theresa has a strong message for those who do get behind the wheel impaired.

“Don’t be that person. It’s not worth it. Don’t ruin your life. Don’t ruin someone else’s life. Because it’s not just yours. He made a choice, and now I get to suffer because he made a choice to get behind that wheel,” said Theresa.

Mike Haddon with the Board of Pardons and Parole’s released the following statement about the case.

“The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole shares in the widespread grief created by the senseless and irresponsible actions of Mr.Barlow that led to the tragic loss of Odin Ratliff and Hunter Jackson.  These are two young boys taken far too soon, and it’s difficult to find words sufficient to comfort Odin and Hunter’s families and loved ones.

“Mr. Barlow will be held accountable for the decisions he selfishly made, for the lives taken, and the lives that will be forever impacted.  Our hearts and prayers are with the families of these precious young boys. All too often people make incredibly poor choices that unfairly and significantly impact innocent lives.  The Board is committed to participate in a careful and thorough review of Mr. Barlow’s actions that led to this heart-rending outcome.”

A public memorial service is planned to take place on Thursday night at the Cedar Valley Stables in Eagle Mountain.

A GoFundMe* account has also been set up for the boys and can be found here. 

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

KSL 5 TV Live

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‘It was 100% preventable’: Mother of 3-year-old believes the justice system failed her