2-year-old in stroller hit and killed by vehicle that fled, police say

Grieving mother pleads for driver to come forward to police

Published: Tuesday, June 11 2013 10:05 a.m. MDT

Gavyn Barnett was hit and killed Monday, June 11, 2013, in West Valley City in a hit-and-run accident. Gavin's mother, Angela Barnett, and her two children were walking home from the Smith's store at 4100 South and 5600 West.

Family Photo

WEST VALLEY CITY — A 2-year-old boy in a stroller was hit and killed Monday night while the child's mother was crossing a street to return home.

Police were still looking for the driver on Tuesday.

A woman was crossing 5600 West around 9:45 p.m. with her two children when Gavyn Barnett, in a stroller, was struck by a northbound vehicle near 4005 South, West Valley Police Lt. Matt Elson said. Angela Barnett, who lives in the neighborhood, had been shopping at a nearby Smith's and was returning home with two young children at the time.

"She had made it across southbound traffic and as she was going into northbound traffic, a vehicle hit the stroller knocking the child from the stroller onto the ground," Elson said. "It's not a controlled intersection. There's no crosswalk or anything."

Barnett said she never saw the car coming before it hit her child.

"(Gavyn) was struck by it and thrown like 9 feet in the air and landed on the pavement," she said. "(The driver) hit the stroller and just kept going."

The 2-year-old suffered extremely critical injuries and was first transported to a hospital in the area before being flown to Primary Children's Medical Center where he died around 1 a.m. The mother and her other child, 9, were not injured.

Barnett said the car was going "way too fast," preventing her from getting any information about it.

"My son's gone because of this," she said Tuesday.

She said Gavyn loved adventures and loved his family. He called the park "school" and loved to play there. She said she recently bought him a small pool to play in.

"Him and his sissy was swimming in it and he was having so much fun — it was the best day of my life," Barnett said. "My son was very adorable. He loved to laugh, smile. … He will be deeply missed and this is going to leave a giant hole in my heart."

Police are now seeking more information about the crash. Elson said investigators believe the vehicle involved stopped briefly before leaving the scene. It was described as a gray or silver four-door car with a spoiler.

Investigators on Tuesday approached businesses to try and see if any surveillance video was available, said West Valley Police Sgt. Jason Hauer. The vehicle's front end may have suffered some damage during the accident, including the left headlight, and police have asked businesses selling auto parts to watch for anyone looking to purchase headlights for a vehicle matching the description of the car involved, he said.

The entire traffic division is working on the case.

"It's really unconscionable to me that you could know that you were in an accident, specifically hit somebody who was crossing the street, and then stop but then speed off," the sergeant said. "We would ask that if that person who is involved sees this report or any other report, contact us."

Barnett offered her own plea.

"I would say if you have any information on what happened … can you please come forward and let me know and turn yourself in?" she said, her voice quaking as she began to cry.

"Because I lost my little boy due to that little accident and I won't ever have him back, and there's a hole in my heart because of it. So, if you have any information, please, please don't hesitate to come forward."

Anyone who may have information is asked to call police at 801-840-4000.

Contributing: Andrew Adams

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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