Bill Honours Clarksville Man With Street Racing Task Force

Tennessee may create a special group to address street racing. This is in memory of Jake Barnhardt, a 34-year-old who died in a car accident in March 2023 involving a suspected street racer.

Barnhardt, who served in the Army special forces for 15 years, was driving on Clarksville Pike in Nashville to pick up his children. According to Metro police, Patrick Ewin, who is 31 years old, lost control of his vehicle and crashed into Barnhardt at a speed of over 100 mph. Ewin has been charged with vehicular homicide by recklessness in relation to the crash.

The man from Clarksville, who is in a committed relationship with Katie Kastle, informed WKRN (WATE’s sister station) that when Barnhardt didn’t arrive to collect the children, she became concerned. She called several hospitals and eventually contacted Vanderbilt, where she found out that he had passed away. Kastle found out the details the next morning by reading a news article.

“I felt angry and then completely shocked when I learned that he was not only gone, but that he had died because someone chose to street race through traffic,” Kastle said. “I had a feeling from the start that we needed to take action on this.” Jake was someone who looked out for everyone and took care of them. Now, we want to know how we can save lives in memory of Jake.

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The “Jacob (Jake) T. Barnhardt Act” has been approved by both the House and Senate of Tennessee. It is currently awaiting the decision of Gov. Bill Lee. The proposed law would create a group called the street racing task force. This group would have 17 members, including police officers and representatives from six different cities. Their job would be to study and find the most effective ways to stop illegal street racing.

“To address this issue, we need to take a comprehensive approach that involves the entire state,” said State Representative Jason Powell from Nashville, who is a member of the Republican party. “This is not only a problem for your community, but it has also become a problem across the entire state.”

Kastle explained that the purpose of the bill is to prevent illegal street racing and also pay tribute to Barnhardt’s life. He mentioned that one of the difficult aspects of such a tragedy is seeing the person responsible being widely covered in the media, and he wanted to avoid that. I wanted everyone to see Jake for who he truly was and to understand how much he meant to our family. I wanted them to know how special he was to us. This is a way to ensure that his memory lives on. In order for a bill to become law, the governor has two options: sign it or let it sit on his desk for 10 days.

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