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

Kyle Barrett.PNG
Posted at 6:49 PM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 19:35:28-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — A Martin County man was sentenced Tuesday for causing a deadly boat crash that killed his wife and his friends' 20-month-old daughter in 2019.

Kyle Barrett will spend fours years in prison, followed by six years of probation for vessel homicide.

In October 2019, investigators said Barrett was driving his friends’ 26-foot Carolina Composite Center Console in the Intracoastal, and crashed into channel marker 238, throwing five of eight total passengers from the boat.

Before the crash, investigators said the Barrett and Matakaetis families had been out for dinner, with some drinks in the mix.

State prosecutors described Tuesday that conditions were dark, hazy and they had to drive 'on plane' to get through shallow water. Prosecutors said while the exact speed wasn’t known, Barrett was driving fast before crashing into an unlit channel marker.

Barrett’s attorney, Robert Watson, said the GPS on the boat was not properly working.

The prosecutor said Barrett, an experienced boater in the area and boat captain, knew the area and should have known the presence of the channel 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.

Paige Barrett, 28, and 20-month-old Hudson Matakaetis were killed.

Family and friends of Barrett’s could be heard yelling "We love you Kyle" as he was handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom following the sentencing.

Hudson's mother, Leanne Matakaetis, read a statement describing the loss of her beloved daughter, bringing a picture of Hudson with her to the courtroom.

"Her spirit shined on anyone she encountered. She was a true blessing we only had for 20 months," Matakaetis said.

She recalled the night of the crash.

"I told him to slow down, and I yelled that it was dark and that he couldn’t see and to watch where he was going," Matakaetis said. "There is so much hidden sadness in us. 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. The loss of Paige and Hudson has been unimaginable."

Barrett’s friends spoke to his love for Paige, one saying "the sun rose and set for her" in Barrett’s eyes.

Barrett spoke to the judge and Matakaetis family in a prepared statement.

"Every night I dread going to bed as I replay those moments of that accident in fear that I may be one day closer to being taken away from my children. It has been an emotional struggle these past three years. This morning, I kissed and hugged my children tightly and anxiously await to know if I'll be home to tuck them in tonight," Barrett said.

"I can only pray you guys understand how much I feel for you and the sorrow I have for everything that happened that night," Barrett said.

The state asked the judge for a 14-year sentence with probation. Watson said he does not plan to appeal the sentence.

Barrett's young children are in family custody.