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Utah mom grieving loss of 3-year-old son & friend killed by car while playing outside

Posted at 3:41 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 00:29:51-04

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — Theresa Ratliff has been coaching and training with Wasatch Peak Vaulters at the Cedar Valley Stables in Eagle Mountain for years.

“The barn is our safe haven,” said Theresa, who would bring her 3-year-old son Odin with her while she rode at the stables. “Odin’s literally grown up there.”

On Monday night, Theresa was teaching a class in the barn. Odin and his friend Hunter Jackson were out playing in the corrals with toy trucks.

“I had just seen him in the barn, not even two minutes prior, and we heard the god-awful crash and it lasted like 30 seconds,” she said. “And I was like, 'I have to go find him,' and then I saw him in the wreckage, and I just ran, and he was gone — there was nothing I could have done.”

Both Odin and Hunter were run over and killed instantly Monday evening by a suspected DUI driver who drove off the road, ran through multiple fences, flipped over his car and left a trail of wreckage behind.

Balloons and stuffed animals were placed just outside the stables. Below the balloons were cards with Odin and Hunter's names, along with images of tractors and other ranch machinery.

“It doesn’t feel very real. Obviously, the memories I have from last night are very real,” said Theresa, who said she's thankful to members of the community for their outpouring of support in such a short amount of time. “I’m going to miss him like crazy and I already do, and he’s probably up there with a lot of people who love him right now.”

Theresa said Odin loved monster trucks and toy trucks of all kinds. They were planning to bring him to a monster truck rally for his birthday. When it comes to the man who was behind the wheel and caused this ripple effect of pain and suffering for multiple families, Theresa hopes he won’t be able to do something like this again.

READ: Mother killed, daughter critically injured in hit-and-run while walking on SLC sidewalk

“I can’t hold hate in my heart. I can hold him accountable for his actions, but I cannot hate him,” she said. “I do not know him. I know that he has shattered our family forever, but I can’t hold that hate in my heart and grieve at the same time.”

A GoFundMe page has been created to help pay the funeral expenses for Odin and Hunter.

"The stables have always been a second home to these boys. Due to reckless and under the influenced driving, the families of these boys are now mourning the loss of their little ones," the page read.