Kyle Barrett: Florida Boat driver sentenced for causing crash that killed wife, friends’ 20-month-old daughter

A Florida man was sentenced to prison on Tuesday for the death of his wife and their friends’ 20-month-old daughter in a boating accident two years ago.

Kyle Barrett, 34, was found guilty of two counts of vessel homicide and sentenced to four years in prison followed by six years on probation for the fatal crash, according to WPTV.

Kyle Barrett: Florida Boat driver sentenced for causing crash that killed wife, friends' 20-month-old daughter

In October 2019, the Palm City man was driving his friends’ 26-foot Carolina Composite center console motorboat through the Intracoastal when he slammed into a channel marker at high speed, ejecting five people.

Paige Barrett, 28, and Hudson Matakaetis, 20 months, were both killed in the crash.

The Barrett and Matakaetis families had dinner together, and eight of them piled onto the 26-foot boat on Oct. 27 around 7:40 p.m.

According to investigators, Barrett had a few drinks at dinner before getting behind the wheel of the boat and deciding to take a shortcut home.

Prosecutors said it was dark and hazy that night, and the boat’s GPS wasn’t working when Barret drove the boat into the unlit channel marker at high speed.

“It’s a perfect storm of things gone wrong,” his lawyer Robert Watson said, according to TCPalm.

However, prosecutors said Barrett was an experienced boater and knew the area so he should have known about the marker.

“On top of the fact he has his children, children of the Matakaetis’s, he needs to be extra careful, but he ignores those factors,” Assistant State Attorney Richard Bodek said.

Barrett read a statement in the courtroom in which he acknowledged his fault and spoke of his remorse.

“My life has been dedicated to transporting people safely and on this night, my lifelong boating experience failed me, and a tragic accident occurred,” he said. “I have the deepest regret for the mistaken judgment I made in those moments and accept the responsibility that lays on my shoulders.”

Kyle Barrett: Florida Boat driver sentenced for causing crash that killed wife, friends' 20-month-old daughter
Paige Barrett, 28, and Hudson Matakaetis, 20 months, were both killed in the crash.

Little Hudson’s mother also spoke to the courtroom, reading a victim impact statement, according to the local outlets.

Leanne Matakaetis said the tragedy was avoidable and said she suffers from PTSD from it.

“I told [Barrett] to slow down, and I yelled that it was dark and to watch where we were going,” she said. “We never should have made the cut in the dark at that speed. Kyle made these decisions thinking he had it. His choice, his mistake, our loss.”

She called the loss of her daughter and Barrett’s wife “unimaginable.”

“There is so much hidden sadness in us,” Matakaetis said. “There are days that are questionable to go on, smiling hurts. Then there are happy times when you feel you shouldn’t be happy. Like you’re not allowed.”

Barrett said he replays the crash scene in his head every night and is concerned about being separated from his children, who are in family custody.

“The last three years have been an emotional struggle,” he said. “This morning, I kissed and hugged my children tightly, wondering if I’d be home to tuck them in tonight.”

source:nsemwokrom.com