Manslaughter charges filed in deaths of Eagle Mountain children
May 12, 2022, 3:20 PM | Updated: 3:23 pm
(Utah County Sheriff's Office)
EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — The Utah County Attorney has filed two counts of manslaughter against Kent Cody Barlow, age 25, of Eagle Mountain. Barlow is accused of driving an automobile that crashed into two young children, killing them instantly.
“Mr. Barlow is presumed innocent,” said Utah County Attorney David Leavitt, “and we intend to present the case to a jury, and hope to demonstrate to a jury of Mr. Barlow’s peers that beyond a reasonable doubt, he committed these crimes.”
Leavitt announced the charges via a Zoom call on Thursday. He is currently in Ukraine.
On May 2, police said that Barlow was driving near 100 mph near 2300 North and 16000 West. He had reportedly run a stop sign before he lost control of his vehicle. He then left the road and crashed through fences and a horse corral. Police said Barlow’s car ended up in a set of horse stables.
Officials said that two three-year-old children, Odin Ratliff and Hunter Jackson, played in the corral when the car crashed through. They died instantly.
“It’s a tragedy for our community any time we lose anyone,” Leavitt said on Thursday. “But a tragedy dealing with three-year-old children is even a deeper loss.”
Each of the manslaughter charges is a second-degree felony. Each carries a potential prison term of up to 15 years. Barlow would be jailed for up to 30 years, Leavitt said, if he were found guilty and a judge ruled the sentences to be served consecutively.
Driver reportedly high during Eagle Mountain crash that killed two children
At the time of the crash, police said they believed that Barlow was high on methamphetamines. When asked why drug charges were not filed against Barlow, Leavitt said the manslaughter charge was the strongest case they could make against the suspect.
“We seek the highest and most violent crime in cases like this,” Leavitt said. “A manslaughter case carries a potential prison term from 1 to 15 years. We don’t intend to plea bargain any case like this.”
The Deseret News reported that Barlow has a history of crime, and that he was on parole at the time of the crash that killed the children. A judge sentenced Barlow to up to 15 years in prison for theft and failing to stop for police. A parole board granted him parole in October.
“I can’t even pretend to speak for the Board of Pardons and Parole,” Leavitt said when asked about Barlow’s previous time in prison. “But I will tell you that we have a culture in our society of violent criminals having too short of sentences in prison.”