Army veteran and father killed in suspected street racing crash, authorities say

jake barnhardt 1.jpg
Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-07 20:59:44-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Street racing continues to be a problem plaguing police and Nashville neighbors, and those dangerous speeds may have directly caused the death of an innocent bystander.

Jake Barnhardt was on his way to pick up his kids Monday when police say a street racer driving 100 mph crashed into his car.

Denise Harris says she heard a loud noise Monday evening outside her job on Clarksville Pike.

"Of course with the white car we couldn't tell who was on the inside due to the fact that all the airbags had came out and like covered them," said Harris.

Metro Nashville Police suspected drag racer’s loss of control on Clarksville Pike just north of Cliff Drive late Monday afternoon resulted in a three-vehicle collision and the death of Barnhardt, 34, of Clarksville.

Patrick Ewin, 31, of Nashville, is now jailed on a charge of vehicular homicide by recklessness.

The investigation shows that Ewin was driving a 2017 Dodge Charger Hellcat southbound on Clarksville Pike at a speed estimated to have been in excess of 100 mph when he lost control and crossed into the northbound lanes.

The Charger struck a Honda Insight sedan being driven by Barnhardt. The Charger then struck a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. Barnhardt had to be extricated from the Honda. He was rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he died shortly after arrival. Ewin was transported to the hospital for minor injuries, then to jail. The driver of the pickup truck was uninjured.

Surveillance video from the area appears to show Ewin racing another Dodge Charger before he lost control.

"Shattered, Jake was our world," said Katie Kastle, Barnhardt's girlfriend.

Barnhardt was a partner, father, brother, son and Army Veteran.

Kastle, holding back tears, says Jake was a father to his daughter and helped raise her two sons.

"I just want everyone to know Jake was the world’s greatest dad to all of our kids. Who did everything for them and would dive in headfirst to anything that would make them smile," said Kastle. "He always put them first, and he was on his way to pick them up."

The special force combat medic was special to everyone he met, and Kastle says he will be missed.

"He was so funny, and he lit up every room that he was in. He would do anything for anybody, and he was always there to help. He was so kind and gentle and so smart."

A judicial commissioner set Ewin’s bond at $75,000.

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