Crackdowns called for after veteran on way to pick up kids killed by street racer

Jake Barnhardt
Posted at 4:55 PM, Mar 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 20:40:52-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A grieving girlfriend lost the love of her life to street racing, and now concerned citizens are calling for a crackdown.

Jeff Sexton has been in talks with lawmakers and law enforcement since before innocent bystander Jake Barnhardt was killed.

"We’re gonna have to have jail time, we’re gonna have to have felonies. We’re gonna have to have a state-driven task force for street racers much like we do a drug task force," Sexton said.

NewsChannel 5 talked to his girlfriend, Katie Kastle, about what Barnhardt meant to their family.

"I would just want people to remember Jake for the amazing father that he was, and he was so funny, and he lit up every room that he was in, he would do anything for anybody," Katie Kastle said.

And now, Jeff is ramping up his efforts before someone else is killed.

“In this case we have a young man going innocently to pick up his children and thank God he didn’t have his children in the car, and now his children are left without a family — it’s tough,” Sexton said.

Police said Jake was hit by driver Patrick Ewin who speeding on Clarksville Pike while racing another driver Monday.

Patrick Ewin
Patrick Ewin

Officers are still looking for the other driver that Ewin was caught on video street racing against. A photo of the Dodge charger is below:

Metro police search for second street racer in Nashville
Metro police search for second street racer in Nashville

Rep. Mike Sparks (R-Murfreesboro) said the fatality hits close to home.

“I’ve got a son who’s 34. It’s just heartbreaking of what some knucklehead did to cost that family the rest of their life," Sparks said.

He'd be on board with voting for funding for a statewide task force to combat street racing.

"Let’s fund law enforcement," Sparks said.

He plans to bring up Jake's death on the house floor at the state Capitol.

Meanwhile, Jeff is going to keep fighting for change.

"We have a street racer that knowingly gets behind the vehicle and creates a weapon, and these weapons are nothing more than killers,” Sexton said, “We are seeing the consequences.”

To help during this time, there's a GoFundMe for the family.

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