LOCAL NEWS

Driver charged with felony manslaughter in crash that killed two 3-year-old boys

May 12, 2022, 1:48 PM | Updated: 7:11 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah County attorney has filed charges against the driver who smashed through a fence on May 2, killing two young boys playing in a corral.

Kent Cody Barlow, 25, from Eagle Mountain faces two second-degree felony counts of manslaughter. Each count carries up to a 15-year prison sentence. Barlow could potentially serve a maximum of up to 30 years in prison.

Witnesses told deputies that Barlow was driving recklessly, weaving in traffic, traveling near or faster than 100 mph, and ran a stop sign before losing control and crashing. Hunter Jackson and Odin Ratliff, both 3 years old, were best friends and they died instantly in the crash at the Cedar Valley Stables in Eagle Mountain.

During their investigation, deputies and detectives said they found evidence that Barlow was impaired. He tested positive for methamphetamine during a preliminary drug screening, and deputies say the positive test combined with his driving pattern is consistent with impairment.

Utah County Attorney David Leavitt said his heart goes out to the families.

Family hopes driver ‘gets locked up forever’ after son killed in crash

“It’s a tragedy for a community anytime they lose anyone, but a tragedy dealing with 3-year-old children is, it is an even deeper loss,” Leavitt said. “We believe that a second-degree felony of manslaughter which carries with it an intent of recklessness more fully encapsulates what occurred in the case and that a second-degree felony is the most serious charge that under state law we can charge.”

Leavitt said his office doesn’t intend to seek a plea bargain in any case like this.

“Demonstrate that we care about societal protection by charging what we need for our protection, sticking to it, not settling it by a plea bargaining and actually proving our case,” Leavitt said.

The boys’ families are disappointed with the length of the potential punishment.

“It’s not enough,” Brooke Jackson, Hunter’s mom said. “If you take somebody’s life, it’s life for you.”

“The one big light in my life, my main joy in my life, was my son and the fact that he’s gone is just devastating and detrimental,” Theresa Ratliff, Odin’s mom said.

“My kid, who is 3, his life was only worth 15 years? Odin’s life only worth 15 years?” Jackson said.

PREVIOUS ARREST

KSL has previously reported on Barlow when police arrested him in connection with a stolen Draper Police car in August of 2019. He was charged with 16 crimes in connection with that incident.

He led police on a chase and they used a spike belt to stop Barlow. Police released body-cam video of the incident months later.

Newly Released Body Cam Video Shows Suspect Stealing Draper Police Car

In that video you can hear a police officer yelling, “He’s getting in my car! Get out of my car! Get out of the car! He’s leaving in my patrol car!”

It all started when an officer tried to pull over 23-year-old Kent Cody Barlow who was on a motorcycle, but he drove off. Eventually, he got off his motorcycle and ran.

The pursuing officer lost track of him, and that’s when police said Barlow jumped into the officer’s police car and took off again, leading other officers on a high-speed chase. The chase ended after Barlow crashed into a set of mailboxes near 7600 South and 7th East.

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Driver charged with felony manslaughter in crash that killed two 3-year-old boys