Family of 2-year-old boy killed in hit-and-run accident speaks out

Posted at 9:42 PM, Jun 11, 2013

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- After 24 hours, police are still searching for leads in a hit-and-run accident that killed a 2-year-old boy Monday night.

Police are looking for the driver as the family of the victim, Gavyn Barnett, pleads for that man to turn himself in. The crash happened around 9:45 pm Monday at 4000 South 5600 West.

The victim's 9-year-old sister said she watched a car hit her baby brother, who was in a stroller. She said the driver stopped, commented about it and then left the scene.

"We’re going through pain because my brother's gone, and he was our favorite," Serrena Barnett said.

She was with her 2-year-old brother Gavyn and their mother. The three left a Smith’s Food and Drug store and crossed 5600 West near 4000 South.  The mother said she never saw any cars, and out of nowhere a northbound vehicle hit the stroller, throwing Gavyn several feet into the road.

"I just saw the stroller go flying, and I just basically lost everything, I fell to the ground,” Angela Barnett said.

The mother fainted, but her daughter watched the trauma unfold.

"He had a hole on the side of his head, and I picked him up and put him on the sidewalk, so he wouldn't get more injured," Serrena said.

Police said what happened next is what makes this death especially egregious. The driver initially stopped before taking off.

Serrena Barrett told FOX 13’s Gene Kennedy that the man made a comment before leaving the area.

Serrena: "It was like, 'oops, I hit something.'”

Kennedy: “That's what he said?"

Serrena: “Yeah, but like he said baby or something."

Kennedy: “And then he just left?"

Serrena: “Yeah, he just drove off.”

Gavyn’s father hadn’t seen the boy in more than a year, and he was devastated upon hearing the news.

“No kid deserves this, why would somebody just hit-and-run on a kid and not even fess up to what they had done?” Jake Rich said.

Gavyn was initially in critical condition, but he died around 1 a.m. on Tuesday at Primary Children’s Medical Center.

Since the crash, West Valley police have scoured through surveillance footage from nearby businesses to come up with a description of the vehicle.

"(The video) showing a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. We still believe that car to be a smaller, 4-door type vehicle with a spoiler, and at this point we think it's either silver or gray, that color," West Valley City Police Sgt. Jason Hauer said.

Gavyn’s family said they want the man found.

"I hope they find this guy and put him in jail," Serrena said.

Her mother added, "He needs to be a man and pay for what he's done."

Angela Barnett can't believe the driver hasn't turned himself in, especially since witnesses said he initially stopped.

"You killed an innocent 2-year-old, and that was my 2-year-old, and that was the love of my life, and you took that away from me,” she said. “I just want him to know it's not worth not coming forward, so please do."

Police believe the car was speeding.  Again, they think it’s white, gray or silver and has a spoiler. It may have damage to one of its headlights.  If you have any information, please call police at 801-840-4000.

Two memorial funds have been set up at Zions Bank and Wells Fargo in the name of the Gavyn Barnett fund.